Heathrow IRC 2018 report published

The Annual Report for 2018 for the IMB at Heathrow IRC has been published. Some of the key recommendations made in the Report are listed below. They include, restrictions on the detention of those with mental illness or social care needs and proper time limits on Home Office authorised detention. The Board believes that if these are accepted by the Home Office and the contractor, Mitie (Care and Custody), this would significantly improve the welfare of detainees.

A full account of the Board’s views on the living conditions of detainees, how these could be improved and our comments on Home Office policy and practice in the treatment of immigration detainees can be found in the Report.

IMB Recommendations

To the Home Office

  • To limit the time period of immigration detention for those detained solely for immigration offences to a maximum period of 28 days.
  • A periodic review mechanism should be created fully independent of the immigration authorities for detainees held for more than six months, with powers to make binding recommendations.
  • Detainees with identified serious mental health illness should not be held in an immigration removal centre.
  • Detention of people requiring social care should only be in circumstances where their needs for personal assistance can adequately be met.

To Mitie (Care and Custody)

  • Handcuffing of detainees while being transported outside the Centre should be further significantly reduced balancing risk against detainee dignity.
  • Further improvements should be made to standards of cleaning and maintenance to improve the living environment for detainees.
  • Complaints investigations should be undertaken by staff from a unit other than the one in which the complaint was raised, or by an independent complaints officer.