Inspectors visit immigration holding centre in Larne

Editorial image
Editorial image

HM Inspectorate of Prisons has published its findings following an inspection of a holding facility in Larne.

The short-term facility for immigration detainees is based at Larne Police Station.

The unannounced visit took place on June 6.

Detainees can be held at the site for up to seven days before their removal from the UK.

The centre can accommodate up to 19 men and women although just one person was held at the time of the inspection who reported that staff had treated her well, the report said.

Inspectors were told that the number of detainees had been reducing although no figures could be provided.

There was nurse cover at the facility 24 hours a day who saw all new arrivals.

Inspectors found that detainees had good access to telephones.

The report indicated that detainees, held in single rooms, could lock their doors from the inside and all had access to a small safe in which they could store valuables.

Couples could share rooms. The facility was accessible to people using a wheelchair.

Detainees could practise their religion and a Muslim chaplain visited the facility if requested. Other visitors were also permitted.

Detainees could make formal complaints in writing. Catering arrangements were found to be “satisfactory” and there were “enough activities

for detainees held for short periods”.

Detainees could freely access the internet and email but could not use video conferencing or social media, which inspectors believed “remained a disproportionate security measure”.

There was one record of a use of force against a detainee in the previous six months who had refused to return to the residential area after seeing a nurse.

Children were not held at the facility.