In yet another potential blow to the Home Office’s reputation, a report released on Wednesday warned of a surge in the use of force against detainees at one of Britain’s largest immigrant detention facilities, according to the Independent.
The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) watchdog reported that the number of “control and restraint” incidents at the Brook House immigrant removal center – which is run by international security firm G4S on behalf of the Home Office – more than doubled in the space of a year.
21 percent of the incidents occurred as part of the process of removing immigrants from the UK.
“The act of being detained, separation from friends and family, loss of control over one’s future, poor communication or delays in Home Office decisions can exacerbate the situation. Self-harming and the threat of self-harm are frequent,” the report reads.
Director of the Detention Action charity Jerome Phelps commented on the report’s findings, and urged the newly-appointed home secretary to take action.
“It demonstrates once again what the mass indefinite detention of migrants means in practice: the proliferating use of force on distressed people, many with serious mental and physical health problems,” Mr. Phelps told the Independent newspaper.
“The new home secretary should take his appointment as an opportunity to rectify the callous approach to immigration that has led the UK to have the largest detention estate in western Europe. He should end the detention of vulnerable people immediately and introduce a 28-day time limit for all cases.”
This particular detention and holding facility was mired in controversy last September after footage purporting to show G4S guards choking and mocking inmates was obtained by investigative journalists from BBC Panorama.