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Immigration Detention

Volume 592: debated on Monday 9 February 2015

I have today commissioned an independent review into the Home Office policies and operating procedures that have an impact on immigration detainee welfare. Immigration detention plays a key role in helping to secure our borders and in maintaining effective immigration control.

The Government believe that those with no right to be in the UK should return to their home country and we will help those who wish to leave voluntarily. However, when people refuse to do so, we will seek to enforce their removal, which may involve detaining people for a period of time. But the wellbeing of those in our care is always a high priority and we are committed to treating all detainees with dignity and respect.

I want to ensure that the health and wellbeing of all those detained is safeguarded. Following the work I commissioned into the welfare of people with mental health difficulties in police custody, I believe it is necessary to undertake a comprehensive review of our policies and operating procedures to better understand the impact of detention on the welfare of those in immigration detention. The purpose of this wider-ranging review is to consider the appropriateness, and application, of current policies and practices concerning the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people in immigration detention, and those being escorted in the UK. I am committed to considering any emerging findings made by the review and to taking action where appropriate.

I have asked Stephen Shaw CBE, the former Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales, and a widely respected expert in this field, to lead the review. The terms of reference can be found on the Home Office website and copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.