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Mitie Care and Custody short-term holding facilities

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Report on an inspection of non-residential airport and seaport short-term holding facilities (STHFs) managed by Mitie Care and Custody by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (15–26 January 2024)

What we found

STHFs, designed and equipped to hold people for just a few hours, held over a quarter of detainees for more than 12 hours and nearly 600 people, including six children, for more than 24 hours over the previous six months. Detainees were not allowed access to their prescribed medication and telephone contact was limited. Not all Border Force staff who had contact with children had enhanced DBS checks and there were startling inconsistences in safeguarding data provided by Border Force. For the most part, Care and Custody staff were supportive to detainees.

Points to note:  The Home Office urgently needs to address the situation at Luton. The airport was unable to cope with the demands placed on it and we were particularly concerned to find that children were placed in crowded holding rooms with unrelated adults.