Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration visits Napier Barracks

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The Chief Inspector of Border and Immigration has visited Napier Barracks in Folkestone as part of an inspection of contingency asylum accommodation.

The site has been used to house asylum seekers since September while their claims are being processed.

The inspector was joined by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons, drawing on the inspectorate's knowledge and experience of inspecting large institutional settings, particularly during the current pandemic.

The visit compromise of:

  • Interviews with accommodation service provider staff and any other persons providing onsite services to the residents

  • Interviews with residents

  • A review of relevant locally-held documentary evidence (e.g. local rules, information, risk assessments, complaints logs, etc.)

  • An assessment of the premises and onsite facilities

  • Separate short surveys of staff and residents (distributed in advance of the visits)

An online rally was held, calls for the site to be closed.

However, calls for the centre's closure are growing louder. An online rally was held on Monday (15 February) night, as many are concerned about the suitability of the site for asylum seekers.

Few people remain here, after the site saw an outbreak of coronavirus in January, followed by a fire, and courts ordering vulnerable people to be moved out. 

Clare Mosley, Founder of Care4Calais, said asylum seekers should be processed so they can can be part of society.

MP for Folkestone and Hythe, Damian Collins Credit: ITV Meridian

Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe, highlighted the problems at the site.

"One of the issues for me with the operation of Napier Barracks is too many people have been in that one place for too long.

I think that's what's made the site difficult to manage and then when you have a Covid outbreak in shared accommodation with a large number of people in it where it is almost impossible to run the sort of isolation strategies you might have in a similar sort of facility an army camp or a prison then it's very problematic."

A Home Office spokesman said: