Cambs detention centre closes today
By the end of today - the final detainees held at the Oakington Detention Centre - will have been transferred.
The centre which has been open for the last ten years was only ever meant to be a temporary measure.
Strategic Director of Criminality and Detention for the UK Border Agency David Wood told heart "For the last ten years, Oakington has housed tens of thousands 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, opening the Brook House facility near Gatwick. We also opened two new wings at Harmondsworth in the summer. The detention estate is larger than ever before and we will continue to look for ways to expand our capacity .”
Well one man from the Sudan, identified only as "Mr F", was held at Oakington for 6 months and told us it was like being surrounded by the US Cuban terror holding facility Guantanamo Bay "Inside it's just prison. Inside dogs around you all the time. Like Guantanmo. People inside they have depression"
"Mr F" told us the detainees had a hard time because they never knew what was going to happen to them, or when "they (officers) come for us in the night-time, they take us one-by-one to the airport, and nobody knows what time they're are going to go. Maybe they come tonight maybe they come for us now."
Alan Kittle, Head of Detention Services, UK Border Agency told heart "Detention is a vital part of our immigration system. We seek to ensure that these powers to detain are exercised reasonably, lawfully and for the shortest possible time, whilst maintaining effective immigration control and protecting the public from harm".
Mr Kittle added "Every detention decision is made on a case by case basis and is reviewed regularly. Detainees also have the option of applying to the courts who will consider whether bail is appropriate. Moving detainees from Oakington will have no impact on the time taken to process their cases.”