Dungavel detention centre to close

The Home Office has announced plans to close Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre, near Strathaven, South Lanarkshire, towards the end of 2017.

It will be replaced by a new Short-Term Holding Facility at Glasgow Airport, with 51 places, which will hold migrants for up to 51 days.  People detained for longer will be transferred to detention centres in England.

Dungavel currently holds up to 249 men and women.

This follows the Government’s announcement of a programme of detention reform, which it expects to lead to a reduction in numbers of migrants detained.

Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill said:

“We keep our detention estate under constant review to ensure we have the right resources in the right places.

“The new short-term holding facility would provide easy access to London airports, from where most removals take place, meaning those with no right to be in the UK can be removed with less delay.

“Closing Dungavel immigration removal centre as a consequence fits with that approach and will result in a significant saving for the public purse.”

Detention Action Director Jerome Phelps said:

“The closure of Dungavel is an important step towards the Government’s intention of reducing the numbers of migrants who are detained.

“But it does not go far enough. New detention places planned elsewhere mean that this will reduce the size of the British detention estate by only around 100 places, in 15 months time – but more than 3,000 migrants are in detention now. After the repeated condemnation of the Home Office’s overuse of detention by the courts and the Home Secretary’s own review, more urgent and radical action is needed.

“There are serious questions about the plans to transfer migrants after seven days from Glasgow Airport to Immigration Removal Centres in England. People could be forced to abandon legal challenges in the Scottish courts, and start again with new solicitors in the English courts. The Government should give a clear commitment not to detain in England migrants with pending asylum or immigration claims in Scotland, other than in exceptional circumstances.”