Campaigners protest as Home Office plans to double size of Campsfield

PRESS RELEASE 28 March 2014

Campaigners protest as Home Office plans to double size of Campsfield

Home Office officials have stated that the government plans to
increase the capacity of Campsfield Immigration Removal Centre from
the present 260 (when Blue Block, closed by the October 2013 fire,
reopens and the current expansion of numbers by packing in more beds
into the same area is complete) by 250 to 510 beds. A Mitie employee
at Campsfield stated this week that the figure is 350 (total 610).

In February, Mitie won a £180m bid to run Colnbrook and Harmondsworth
detention centres near Heathrow airport over the next eight years,
starting from September 2014. This makes Mitie the Home Office’s
leading provider of immigration detention services, less than three
years after ‘entering the market’, to quote its press release.

Only five months ago, Campsfield, run by Mitie, was ravaged by a major
fire[i] that spread due to an absence of sprinklers, according to the
Chief Fire Officers Association.

Campaign to Close Campsfield member Bill MacKeith said: “Mitie’s
shareholders may be rubbing their hands. But what can we say of a
‘leader in property maintenance'[ii] happy to take over a detention
centre not fitted with fire sprinklers? Last October’s fire was the
inevitable outcome, as the Oxon Fire Service predicted. Since Mitie
took over, Campsfield’s history of mass hunger strikes, suicide and
attempted suicides has run on.”

Some of those detained will be ‘foreign national prisoners’ who have
served a prison sentence and now await deportation. According to the
shocking report[iii] published today by the Independent Chief
Inspector of Borders and Immigration, the average immigration
detention time for such people is 18 months to 2 years.

Bill MacKeith said: ‘Such scandalously long detention, strongly
condemned in the report, is NOT a reason to expand what the government
doublespeak calls the “detention estate”.’

Demonstration 12 noon Saturday 29 March 2014

At Campsfield main gates, Langford Lane, Kidlington OX5 1RE

Contacts: Bill , Liz , Gill


[i] Farid Pardiaz appears in Oxford Crown Court on 1 April charged
with arson on 17 October 2013 at Campsfield.

[ii] Mitie website: ‘We combine our in-depth knowledge of fire safety
and buildings regulations with a detailed understanding of your exact
requirements … Our fire protection services are high-quality,
competitively-priced, and technologically advanced, and we’re
committed to sustainable business practices.’ ‘Your fire prevention
and business security systems are part of your building’s life support
system; we’ll make sure they keep you safe.’



One response to “Campaigners protest as Home Office plans to double size of Campsfield

  1. Reblogged this on Anj Handa and commented:
    Another shocking article on the UK’s record on its treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.

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