Men held at Gatwick immigration centre for two years

Credit: PA

Four men have been held at an immigration centre near Gatwick Airport for over two years, awaiting deportation.

Inspectors found that in some cases, 23 detainees were held for more than a year at the Brook House Immigration Removal Centre.

They also found that the average length of detainment had increased from 28 to 48 days.

The centre houses over 400 male detainees in prison-like conditions, many of whom have been left waiting for months before they are finally released or deported.

An unannounced inspection last year at the site, which is run by the security company G4S, raised concerns about the length of time people were held and the lack of analysis to explain the rise.

The report said: "Our casework analysis revealed cases of detention being prolonged by delays in immigration decision-making."

The longest detention at the centre was for more than two and a half years, the report by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke said.

Inspectors also highlighted the "stark and impersonal" residential units, which they said "very closely resembled the conditions found in prisons" and raised concerns over unsatisfactory sanitary facilities.

But overall the report said it was an "encouraging" inspection.

Brook House was deemed "reasonably good" in all four healthy establishment tests - safety, respect, activities and preparation for removal or release.

Praising staff, Mr Clarke said: "This also marks excellent progress from the standards we were seeing at Brook House when it first opened.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the standards now being observed at the centre are the result of a great deal of hard work by the management and staff."