Brook House Immigration Removal Centre – clear improvements

Brook House immigration removal centre had made clear improvements, and staff are to be congratulated, said Peter Clarke, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the immigration removal centre near Gatwick Airport.

Brook House and a neighbouring immigration removal centre (IRC), Tinsley House, are both operated by G4S and are collectively known as Gatwick IRC. Brook House held just under 400 adult male detainees during the inspection. At that time, Tinsley House was closed for refurbishment and some of the detainees and most of the staff had been temporarily moved to Brook House. The last inspection was in 2013. As with all IRCs, the major challenge for staff was to manage the frustration felt by many detainees at the length of their detention and the uncertainty surrounding their future. The centre was assessed as “reasonably good” in all four healthy establishment tests: safety, respect, activities and preparation for removal or release.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • most detainees said they felt safe and levels of violence were fairly low;
  • levels of self-harm were lower than at the previous inspection and those at risk of self-harm were generally positive about the care they received;
  • staff-detainee relationships were a particular strength;
  • equality and diversity structures were robust: reasonable use was made of interpretation for those who did not speak English, support for those with identified disabilities was well organised and attention had been given to detainees in the oldest and youngest age groups;
  • there was enough work for most detainees, good access to the library and although the range of education was limited, teaching and learning were good; and
  • welfare services had improved and detainees spoke positively of the support they received from welfare staff.

However, inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • the average length of detention at Brook House had increased from 28 to 48 days but there did not appear to have been any analysis as to why this had happened;
  • there were some serious delays in some individual cases, with 23 detainees held for over a year and four of these for over two years; and
  • the residential units very closely resembled the conditions found in prisons, and these were exacerbated by poor ventilation and unsatisfactory sanitary facilities.

Peter Clarke said:

“Overall, this was an encouraging inspection. The centre had improved upon the standards we found at the last inspection, and on this occasion was assessed as ‘reasonably good’ in all four of our healthy establishment areas. This also marks excellent progress from the standards we were seeing at Brook House when it first opened. There is no doubt in my mind that the standards now being observed at the centre are the result of a great deal of hard work by the management and staff. They should be congratulated on their efforts and I hope are encouraged by this report to maintain and build upon the clear improvements they had made.”

– ENDS –

Notes to editors:

  1. A copy of the full report, published on 10 March 2017, can be found here.
  2. HM Inspectorate of Prisons is an independent inspectorate, inspecting places of detention to report on conditions and treatment, and promote positive outcomes for those detained and the public.
  3. Brook House Immigration Removal Centre holds adult male detainees subject to immigration control. It is run by G4S on behalf of the Home Office.
  4. This unannounced inspection was carried out from 3 October to 11 November 2016.
  5. Please contact Jane Parsons at HM Inspectorate of Prisons press office on 020 3681 2775 or 07880 787452 if you would like more information.