UK immigration detention centres

This section of the information resource covers a very important UK and human rights respecting or breaking/ignoring subject.

It covers two interrelated topics that face all taken into these very controversial, often news headline scandal revealing detention/deportation centres, all of which except for one are run and managed by private sector, for-profit companies — What to expect, and What can happen if you find you are taken into one of these centres. 

Here is the official UK Government information website information regarding staying in an IRC / UK immigration detention / deportation centre:

What to expect & What can Happen in an immigration detention & removal centre:

In extreme cases you must allow for dying slowly and cruelly in Her Majesty’s Immigration Detention Centres (IRCs) – as revealed in the case of Mr Prince Fosu (details below), representative of other deaths in UK immigration detention centres and doubtless other places of ‘custody.’

The British ‘Crown Prosecution Service’ (CPS: which is as it explains in all information online and in hard-copy forms, an entirely independent entity – responsible for crime related prosecutions – which however is listed with a ‘’ website address. 

However, it has not been able to provide any information on numbers of UK immigration services agencies, including private sector businesses providing services to some of the latter, any statistics on numbers of Hostile Environment/UK immigration directly related cases (the CPS ‘doesn’t have such data as it doesn’t record the latter for individual private companies’). 

The CPS  has, even more significantly, Not been able to provide detail and evidence of even a single CPS case where anyone in the Home Office, Border Force, IE (and its ‘ICE’ teams) and the private firms personnel that run all but one of the UK’s immigration detention centres (IRC) and ‘IRC centre to and on air flights deportation operations, has been prosecuted successfully. Indeed the CPS for the reason detailed above, is unable to provide data on numbers of cases brought to its attention, or submitted for prosecution. Such a record compromises the name of the CPS, in the eyes of those who have been victims of the Hostilr Environment.

In these circumstances the CPS has its stated ‘independence’ called extensively in to question for those who have experienced the full brutality and injustice of the Hostile Environment against genuine UK immigration service users, including those gang-raped, tortured, murdered, abused directly as a result of the Whitehall operational level designed implemented, and former Prime Minister Theresa May instituted Hostile Environment.

What you can actually experience in an IRC / UK immigration detention – deportation centre, can often be very different in terms of how you are treated, your human rights, your safety and safeguarding (often particularly dangerous if you are an LGBT community member or have a serious medical condition). 

The following news articles describe well what can actually happen in a UK immigration detention/deportation centre – truly horrific, and to date no prosecutions, and no dismissals of the culprits, as far as is known:

BBC Newsnight report on SERCO losing asylum seekers accommodation contract in Scotland: Home Office / Whitehall complicit in supporting forced female circumcision ….


Asylum seekers housed in dirty accommodation that fails to their meet basic needs, finds government report

Home Office accused of ‘underplaying’ poor treatment of asylum seekers as report shows almost half of asylum properties ‘not fit for purpose’ or in need of ‘urgent’ action

The case of the death in an IRC of Mr Prince Fosu:

Harmondsworth immigration centre death: Firms will not be prosecuted:

Prince’s father said: “For a bereaved family, it is difficult to understand why there is such delay in the criminal decision making process, we are just told that it is normal. How can I now explain to the wider family on the anniversary of Prince’s death, that we have got nowhere in six years? How can I explain why the prosecution decision has been reversed? How can it be acceptable to treat a bereaved family this way? This is not justice.”

Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST said: “We had hoped this trial would shine a spotlight on the inhumane treatment of Prince, who died naked on the concrete floor of his cell. On the 6th anniversary of Prince’s death, this is a reprehensible step backwards by the CPS. Recent months have seen the highest number of deaths of immigration detainees on record. The culture of impunity for private companies and the Home Office, in the face of well documented ill treatment of detainees, is shameful.”

Kate Maynard, solicitor for the family said: “The CPS is clearly a failing and arrogant institution if they think that the management of this case has been acceptable. This case illustrates the systemic delay for decision making in death in custody cases. To take four years to review a case, announcing that there will be a prosecution and then reversing that decision 18 months later, is dysfunctional. A culture change is required within the CPS to fix the way it operates so that bereaved families receive a decent, efficient and humane service

The lead (a member of the Wessex CPS ‘hate Crime’ panel) of the main organisation responsible for providing this information resource website contacted the head of the Wessex CPS with a request to contact the head of national level CPS in regard to the following two questions:

  1. Has the London area CPS ‘Hate Crime Panel’ considered and discussed the death of Mr Prince Fosu in a UK Government immigration detention centre?
  2. What data and responses does the national level Crown Prosecution Service have on if ANY UK immigration services personnel, particularly those in UK immigration detention centres (IRCs) such as that where Mr Prince Fosu’s life was tragically ended, have been prosecuted under the aegis of the CPS, and if such prosecutions took place, that they were successful

The responses from the CPS on both these questions, particularly the major, second one, demonstrated that the CPS is revealed as de-facto far from not affected by the Hostile Environment – the London area CPS ‘Hate Crime Panel’ had apparently NOT considered Mr Prince Fosu’s death, and the CPS was not able to provide any information on UK immigration agencies (state/taxpayer funded, and private for-profit sector) regarding submitted or successful prosecutions.  The response was that ‘we don’t have or record data on specific-level companies.’ 

This official response from the CPS means that those guilty of perceived or actual torture, manslaughter, and grotesque abuses of power and/or process implementing the Hostile Environment can sleep comfortably in their beds – the British Criminal justice system leaves them in peace to carry on with practices and activities that would in pre-Hostile Environment Britain (and certainly in stronger Western human rights respecting democracies) have led swiftly to their losing their jobs and facing prosecution on very serious criminal/human rights abuse charges.


This page concludes with highlights and the final very revealing paragraph [regarding ‘independent’ ‘watchdog’] of an early 2018 released/published Report on an ‘unannounced inspection of Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre Harmondsworth site by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons’ (2–20 October 2017).

The continuing lack of a time limit on detention meant that some men had been held for excessively long periods: 23 men had been detained for over a year and one man had been held for over 4.5 years, which was unacceptable …’

‘ … Detention Centre Rule 35 reports, which are intended to give some protection to the most vulnerable detainees, lacked rigour. Worryingly, in nearly all of the cases we examined, the Home Office accepted evidence that detainees had been tortured, but maintained detention regardless’

‘… Insufficient attention was given to post-traumatic stress and other mental health problems. There were delays in referring potential trafficking victims to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) and our staff interviews confirmed widespread ignorance of the NRM. The first night unit had been relocated since our last visit and now provided a much calmer environment for newly arrived detainees. However, reception and first night processes were superficial and left many detainees feeling anxious and ill-informed. Violence was not high but violence management processes were weak and a high number of detainees felt unsafe.’

‘ … Detainees, many identified as vulnerable, were not being adequately safeguarded. Some were held for unacceptably long periods. Mental health needs were often not met. Detainees were subject to some disproportionate security restrictions and living conditions were below decent standards. It is time for the Home Office and contractors to think again about how to ensure that more substantial progress is made by the time that we return. 

Peter Clarke CVO OBE QPM January 2018 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons


‘It is time for the Home Office and contractors to think again about how to ensure that more substantial progress is made by the time that we return.’   The next scheduled return date is, it appears, some three years later! 

If a member of Mr Clarke’s family or a member of the family of the architects, protectors, or frontline implementers of the Hostile Environment from Home Office Permanent Secretary and the Chief Officer and/or Director General of the UKVI, or the Head of the CPS had a close family member treated in the way Mr Prince Fosu was, no such horribly complacent wording would have been used to sign this ultimately very ineffective report off. 

By the time of their next report how many more Prince Fosu’s will have had their lives ended, often brutally and callously, slowly by those who it appears are IMMUNE FROM PROSECUTION and whose wages are paid for by the British taxpayer, including those from minority communities particularly targeted by the Hostile Environment implementing agencies frim highest Whitehall levels.

Effectively a victim of manslaughter (some, reasonably would say murder) by the British state via the private sector business employees who callously, even sadistically, watched him gradually die naked and starved, a known sufferer from epilepsy, over a number of days. 

HM’s Chief Inspector of Prisons report, and the news that the CPS is clearly complacent on processing torture, abuse, manslaughter of victims of Hostile Environment age UK Immigration services, does nothing for the victims of the latter. Nothing (quite the reverse) to rescue the credibility of the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons and for the CPS in terms of the disastrous race relations (and often LGBT community relations) wont of effective action on those abused and who have lost their lives.

You may also be interested to study the following link: 

P 11. Areas for Improvement.  This inspection identified serious weaknesses in Border Force’s creation, maintenance and storage of records.  It was unable to demonstrate that all search of person activity within the customs channels was lawful and proportionate.

2.8 The main area for improvement was record-keeping. As with previous port inspections, this inspection identified serious weaknesses in Border Force’s creation, maintenance and storage of records.

2.9 The inspection identified records that failed to:

• demonstrate actions taken by BFOs were lawful and proportionate; and

• show that officers were complying with policy and guidance.

2.10 Border Force was not maintaining accurate passenger detention records in all instances. In some cases Border Force was unable to demonstrate that the initial detention and the time spent in detention were necessary, leaving it open to challenge and criticism.

2.11 Border Force was unable to provide the inspection team with the all of the documentation it requested in relation to search of person activity. Therefore, it was unable to demonstrate that all search of person activity within the customs channels was lawful and proportionate. In 29 (63%) of the cases sampled no justification for intercepting the passenger was recorded, and in two-thirds of cases there was nothing to show that passengers had been informed of their rights.

2.12 BFOs in the customs channels were not always adhering to guidance which required them to complete notebook records at the time, or shortly after, an event had taken place, despite the fact that Border Force guidance made it clear that notes that are not written up as soon as possible may not be relied upon by an officer if the case were to go to court.

2.13 Passengers stopped in the customs channels were not being asked to sign notebook entries. Although not a requirement under current guidance, the inspection team was told that training given to BFOs was clear that they must record notes of questions asked, and answers given by passengers, and passengers should be given the opportunity to sign the notebook entry to confirm its accuracy.

2.14 BFOs were not always storing their notebooks on official premises. This was in breach of Border Force guidance. Some managers were aware of this practice, but had taken no action. Notebooks often contain personal information relating to passengers, in addition to sensitive operational information, and must be properly protected and readily retrievable.

2.15 Some BFOs were not complying with interviewing guidance* when conducting immigration interviews, for example failing to ask standard closing questions and/or to ensure the interview record was signed by the passenger.

P12.  Overall Finding2.18 This inspection found many examples of good practice and of improvements in performance for which Border Force deserves credit. However, what is overall a positive picture in terms of core business is somewhat let down by failings in basic procedures and practices, which with more effective management oversight and assurance should have identified and tackled.

Many examples of good practice and of improvements in performance for which Border Force deserves credit.

P13.  Summary of Recommendations: 

The Home Office should:

1. Maintain adequate audit trails, and undertake necessary assurance activity to ensure that: • detailed and accurate records are maintained of every passenger detention that demonstrate the detention is lawful and the duration of the detention is no longer than is necessary; and • records are created and retained in all cases in line with guidance, and fully justify and evidence the rationale for decisions.

2. Ensure all searches of person are lawful and proportionate, and have been conducted in accordance with guidance, with proper documentary records maintained.

3. Ensure that passengers are informed about their right to appeal prior to a search of their person being conducted under Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 powers, and that the Border Force paperwork accurately reflects this, together with the justification for the search and any supporting information.

4. Produce (keep updated) and disseminate to all affected Border Force staff a single, written set of notebook guidance, and put measures in place to ensure this guidance is consistently followed in order to improve the reliability of its records and to enable managers to undertake more effective assurance activity.

5. Ensure all notebooks are stored on official premises and are easily retrievable.

6. Ensure all detection staff are reminded of the requirement, without exception, to enforce the law in relation to passengers attempting to enter the UK with any goods in excess of non-EU allowances, and that managers assure that this is happening.