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Monitors find ‘good interactions’ at Gatwick immigration removal centre

In a report out today, independent monitors have found good interactions between staff and detainees at G4S-managed Brook House immigration removal centre
Brook House

Independent monitors today published their report on G4S-managed Immigration Removal Centre Brook House, near Gatwick airport, stating that while staff recruitment must remain a priority, that there were good interactions between staff and detainees.

In their annual report covering 2017, the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) examined all aspects of life at Brook House including safety, accommodation, healthcare and education. The purpose-built establishment opened in 2009 and has a capacity of 508. Over the course of 2017 the centre housed men of 60 different nationalities, held under immigration laws. 

The report  references the BBC Panorama programme broadcast in September of that year and states that “G4S managers moved fast to keep the centre steady, detainees calm and staff encouraged” during this difficult time. Notwithstanding the behaviour seen in the programme, they observed managers doing their best to provide a safe environment and protect individuals. 

Over the course of 2017, the capacity of the centre increased from 448 to 508 through the introduction of a third bed into 60 rooms. Monitors note in their report that the Board’s initial concerns about this increase have been alleviated, although the centre does require additional work places to accommodate the uplift in capacity.

Interim director at Brook House immigration removal centre, Lee Hanford, said: 

“I’m encouraged that this report shows the confidence that our onsite independent monitors have in my team to provide a safe environment and on-going efforts made by staff to ensure that people are well cared for before their departure from the centre. 

“Our first priority is to provide a safe and secure environment for the men in our care and we are resolutely focused on recruiting and retaining dedicated detention custody officers to support this.

“We are well underway to meeting our target of 226 permanent officers and are drawing on resources from across G4S custody and detention services to ensure that we maintain a full contingent of staff at Brook House. 

“We work hard to support the successful resettlement of the men in our care back into the community. This includes providing classes on life in the UK and countries of origin, CV writing and language courses in Spanish, Italian and English. These classes are extremely popular with an average of 1,690 attendances per month.

“We will work closely with the Home Office to incorporate the recommendations made by the monitors.”