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Anti-bullying policy for immigration removal centre devised

`Vast majority of recommended improvements in place’: UKBA

15th July 2010: Reacting to a report dubbing as unsafe Brook House immigration removal centre at Gatwick airport, the UK Border Agency has claimed implementation of “vast majority of the improvements” that were recommended.

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An anti-bullying policy, additional support for the staff, including designated mentors, and efforts to develop a comprehensive drugs strategy, are some of the measures that have been adopted.

The report on an inspection of the removal centre was prepared by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons.

In the report, the immigration removal centre was slammed as “fundamentally unsafe" with "serious" problems, such as tormenting, hostility and drugs. It was found that only a third of detainees felt safe on their first night.

The report said bullying and violence were the main problems at the time of their inspection in March.

Responding, the UK Border Agency’s strategic director for criminality and detention David Wood said: ‘We are extremely disappointed with this report, but accept its broad conclusions. That is why we have acted so swiftly to implement the vast majority of the improvements recommended.

‘Since the inspection, we have introduced an anti-bullying policy and additional support for staff, including designated mentors. We are also developing a comprehensive drugs strategy for the estate to supplement the intelligence-led approach we have to preventing drugs coming in and being used in the centre. We are continuing to build excellent working relationships with the local police, which have already led to a number of drugs prosecutions.

‘The vast majority of detainees in Brook House have committed very serious crimes, including drugs, sex and violent offences. The centre therefore faces a number of challenges on a daily basis. We are absolutely committed to meeting these challenges, and the remaining improvements will be made in the next few months.’

Brook House is one of 11 immigration removal centres around the country, where people are detained pending their removal from the UK.

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