Oxford

Campsfield House immigration detention centre closes

Campsfield House Image copyright Google
Image caption The Home Office would not confirm where the detainees had been transferred to

The decommissioning of an immigration detention centre in Oxfordshire has begun following the departure of the last of its detainees.

The Home Office has decided not to renew its contract for the 282-bed Campsfield House in Kidlington, leading to its closure.

It told the BBC it was in discussions about the site's future, but would not confirm where the detainees had gone.

Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, welcomed the closure.

The Liberal Democrat MP said: "Today is a pivotal moment in ending the indefinite detention of people who have fled war, torture and persecution.

"The welfare of those who have left Campsfield is paramount, and I am pressing to make sure that conditions in other detention centres are decent and humane, as well as keeping up my campaign in parliament to end indefinite detention altogether."

Image caption Layla Moran called the closure a 'pivotal moment'

Ms Moran said she would focus on supporting anyone affected by job losses, and wanted the local community to have a say on the site's future.

The building is managed by Mitie Care and Custody for the government.

In its 2017 annual report, the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) found detainees had arrived at Campsfield House without their possessions 150 times.

It said it had "serious concerns" about the "significant numbers" of detainees affected.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "Immigration detention is an important part of the wider immigration system.

"It encourages compliance, protects the public from the consequences of illegal immigration and ensures that people who are here illegally, or who are foreign criminals, can be removed from this country when all else fails.

"We are committed to using detention sparingly and only when it's necessary."

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