'Shocked' and 'appalled' - anger over conditions for refugees detained in Kent

Tap above to watch a video report on the inspection findings


Organisations and charities supporting refugees have criticised the Government following a damning inspection into three detention centres in Kent.

A report released on Friday said people who were soaking wet and freezing after crossing the English Channel were being processed at what resembles a "rubble-strewn building site".

Tug Haven facility in Dover, Kent Credit: HMIP/PA

There were also failures highlighted over shower and sleeping facilities with some people having to go to sleep on the floor.

However, those people at the facility spoke very positively about how they were being treated by staff.


'Shocked' but 'unsurprised'

Bridget Chapman from Kent Refugee Action Network said she was 'shocked' at the overall findings, but not surprised:

"People are coming to this country looking for sanctuary, they're looking for somewhere safe to be and what is happening is they're being treated worse than we treat criminals and it's completely unacceptable. The report doesn't just highlight one or two small issues, it is a litany of appalling treatment of people."

Particular concerns were raised in relation to how children were treated, many of whom were on their own.

In one case, a child was mistakenly taken to a detention centre for adults and some children were held for far too long.

Tug Haven facility in Dover, Kent Credit: HMIP/PA

The Dover based charity Samphire, who work to bring migrant and British communities together.

Kay Marsh from the organisation said she was concerned,

"The UK stopped detaining children several years ago and we shouldn't be returning to that situation under any circumstances.

"The Government has a duty of care to provide humane, sanitary conditions, regardless of the number of arrivals and to ensure people, and children especially, are not being kept there any longer than they need to be. 

"The findings are completely unacceptable and immediate improvements need to be made across all facilities to bring them up to standard, with much closer monitoring of the sites going forward."


Home Office: We 'take the welfare of people in our care extremely seriously'

The Home Office said it takes 'the welfare of people in our care extremely seriously' but Bella Sankey, director of Detention Action, wants more to be done,

A Home Office spokesperson said: "We are fully adhering to our statutory duties to ensure our facilities are decent and humane.

"We have also improved both our facilities and the way we deal with arrivals in response to the unprecedented rise in small boat crossings.

"These crossings are dangerous, illegally-facilitated and unnecessary.

"We are committed to fixing the asylum system, to make it fairer and firmer, compassionate to those who need help and welcoming people through safe and legal routes."