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6 August 2010, 09:49
The Oakington Immigration Removal Centre will close within three months.
The UK Border Agency has confirmed the centre, which has been open since 2000, will shut by the 12th November.
Immigration Minister Damien Green said: "For the last ten years, Oakington has housed hundreds of immigration offenders and allowed us to remove those with no right to be in the country.
However, it was a temporary solution and we never intended to use this facility long term.
We have recently expanded our detention estate and this has included the opening of two new wings at Harmondsworth this week."
200 staff are employed there by G4S, which runs the centre, along with 100 sub-contractors.
A G4S spokesperson said:"Following the UK Border Agency’s public commitment to close Oakington Immigration Removal Centre by summer 2011, we can confirm that we have today been given the official notice of closure.
The current planned final date of our contract is the 12th November 2010.
The care and welfare of our people at Oakington is of paramount importance; we have spoken to them regarding the closure and have made contact with the unions to arrange a meeting so that we can commence the consultation process.
Obviously we are disappointed with today’s news but will work closely with the UK Border Agency during the coming months to ensure the closure is effected as smoothly as possible."
This comes after Julian Huppert visited the reception centre at Oakington to investigate conditions there, following the death of an inmate from Kenya called Eliud Nyenze back in April.
Speaking at the time, Mr Huppert said: "It is vital that people fleeing persecution or danger in their own countries should feel they can come to Cambridge and Britain generally and be treated with dignity.
Locking up people in detention centres is not the way to treat these people. It is a poor reflection of our country and we need to change this.
I am anxious to make sure that procedures and policies are reviewed at the centre and lessons learned following the death of Mr Nyenze and the incident that followed."
Mr Huppert also recently stepped in to halt the deportation of a Sudanese torture victim who was being held at Oakington.