The Home Office announced today that a new immigration detention centre is to be established on the site of the former RAF Base at Coltishall, near Norwich as part of efforts to expand detention capacity.
In response to the announcement, Anna Reisenberger, acting Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“We are dismayed that the Home Office is looking to open another detention centre to house asylum seekers. At a time when extra space is desperately needed to hold people who have committed crimes, it seems very strange that priority should be given to locking up people who’ve committed no crime and are no danger to the public.
“Although it is reasonable to monitor people who are in the asylum process, including those awaiting return, it isn’t necessary to detain people. Evidence shows that very few asylum seekers try to abscond – even those who face removal. Detention is expensive and unnecessary, but worst of all causes distress and in many cases psychological damage to people who are already traumatised by their experiences.
“We’ve been campaigning to stop the detention of children for immigration purposes, but also believe that it should only be used as very much a last resort with adults. Far from opening detention centres, the government should be closing down those that exist. “