UK Border Agency Heathrow Airport child detention “degrading and disgraceful”

08:57 14 May 2012

The UK Border Agency is detaining children in degrading and disgraceful conditions at Heathrow Airport, it was claimed today.

Children of all ages are held there for immigration purposes almost every day and sometimes spend the night there, says the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) for the airport in its annual report.

They are held in rooms which are small, stuffy and have no natural light, the report says.

There is no access to the open air, no sleeping accommodation and only hand basins for washing. Children often share space with unrelated adults and can be there for many hours.

A spokesman said: “This continues despite the government saying that it would end the detention of children for immigration purposes.

“The IMB recognises that children cannot always be admitted to the country straight away and are sometimes held for their own protection.

“But it recommends that non-custodial, child-friendly accommodation is provided at Heathrow for families with children as a matter of urgency.”

The report adds that Heathrow is the UK’s busiest international port, where some 15,000 people are detained for immigration purposes each year.

“The conditions under which children are held and that detainees have to endure overnight are degrading and disgraceful,” it says.

A Border Force spokesman said: “We share the Independent Monitoring Board’s concerns about the quality of the accommodation provided by BAA. We have raised this with them on numerous occasions in the past and will continue to do so to ensure those held at the border have proper facilities to meet their and our needs.

“The report rightly recognises that we are handling cases efficiently and professionally and that it identifies improvements in the way passengers, including children, are treated by staff.

“We will respond to the report fully in due course.”

A spokeswoman for Heathrow Airport’s operator BAA said: “We have not seen the report and therefore can’t comment but are somewhat surprised by UK Border Force’s response, since we have had many meetings with them recently and it has not been raised.”

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

It was the series finale, and there was as much drama as you’d expect.

Read more

Ringo Starr, Bette Midler, Steven Tyler and Boy George are among the many musicians paying tribute to the Sheffield singer.

Read more

You either love him or you hate him. If you fall into the first category, you’re probably a Chelsea fan.

Read more

Promoted content

We've got a great selection of Secret Santa presents and stocking fillers for under a tenner...  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Office Secret Santa: it’s a Christmas ritual that everyone dreads, but no-one wants to seem like a Scrooge by saying no. Never fear, London24 is here to make buying gifts for Dave in Accounts simple and stress-free, with a selection of presents for under a tenner

Money saving Christmas gifts to add to your shopping list!

It’s nearly time to go on the hunt for Christmas presents, stuck on what to get for your nearest and dearest? We’ve picked out a selection of great deals to get you started and to help you save some pennies!

Ringo Starr, Bette Midler, Steven Tyler and Boy George are among the many musicians paying tribute to the Sheffield singer.

People are paying tribute after the rock and blues legend Joe Cocker has passed away.

After a bin lorry lost control in the heart of Glasgow today, Police Scotland have confirmed six people have died.

‘Fromage’ kicks immigrants off the White Cliffs of Dover in the Ukik phone app.

TOP Stories

16:21
Pensioner Geoffrey Lederman ploughed into mother Desreen Brooks at 54mph(Google Street View)

An 85-year-old from Maida Vale who ploughed his car into a mother at 54mph, killing her in front of her husband and toddler has been jailed for 18 months.

15:01
Jason Oparaocha has been jailed for nine months

A Harlesden man who attacked two city workers when one of them tried to chat up his friend will spend Christmas in jail.

Officers would like to speak to this man (Pic credit: Brent Police)

Police have released the image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with a pub fight in Neasden which has left a peacemaker in a coma.

London Bloggers

Around 25 per cent of the population self-identity as having no religion yet still enjoy the fun of Christmas (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

It’s Christmas time. We know this by the light-adorned streets, the mobility hazard posed by boxes of Quality Street, Roses and Celebrations in every supermarket’s entrance and, of course, the incessant radio-plays of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You.

Thursday, November 27, 2014
The main room at the Museum of Comedy (Pic: Steve Ullathorne)

This week I visited the Museum of Comedy located at the corner of Museum Street and Bloomsbury Way in the crypt under St George’s Church.

Thursday, November 27, 2014
Bird Lovegod

I genuinely and honestly have only a slight problem when it comes to buying domain names.