Millions spent on compensation for unlawful detentions in immigration centres

Posted On: 
20th April 2016

Some £4m every year is paid out to people who were unlawfully held in immigration detention centres, figures have revealed.

Some 60% of the 30,000 people held annually at immigration detention centres are released back into their communities
PA Images

According to the BBC, the Government paid £4m in 2014-15 and between £4m and £5m in each of the three preceding years.

The figures were obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Victoria Derbyshire programme.

Government defeated by peers over immigration detention time limit

UK's largest immigration detention centre 'seriously insanitary' - HMIP

Numbers in immigration detention centres must be 'boldly' reduced - report

A separate request by charity Citizens UK found the Home Office paid up to £155,000 to individuals wrongfully detained between 2012 and 2015.

People the Government is seeking to deport, including failed asylum-seekers and foreign prisoners, are held in the controversial detention centres.

Some 30,000 pass through them each year at a cost of £35,000 per detainee – although approximately 60% return to their UK communities.

Conservative MP and Home Affairs Committee member Tim Loughton told the BBC: "These are not prisons, they are places purely to hold people who might be at risk of absconding between getting hold of them and putting them on a plane out of the country.

"I think many taxpayers would be greatly annoyed and offended that their money is going not only to look after some of these people who should not be in these detention centres, but we're actually having to pay out compensation because the courts have deemed that they've been detained wrongly as well."

A Home Office spokesperson said: "Detention is an important part of a firm but fair immigration system, helping to ensure that those with no right to remain in the UK are returned to their home country if they will not leave voluntarily.

"Decisions to detain individuals are reviewed regularly to ensure they remain justified and reasonable and, if necessary, they can be challenged through the courts.

"We are committed to treating all detainees with dignity and respect and take the welfare of detainees very seriously.”