Does Barnardo’s legitimise child detention?

By Frances Webber
17 March 2011, 10:00pm
The children’s charity’s decision to work with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in its planned short-term family detention facility has caused alarm among campaigners.
ON 9 March, Barnardo’s announced that it had agreed with the UKBA to provide staff at the proposed new immigration holding centre for up to nine families at Pease Pottage, Crawley Forest. UKBA and its consultants putting forward the planning application describe the centre as ‘pre-departure accommodation’, and never use the word ‘detention’, and according to UKBA’s website, families ‘will have free movement around the site, security will be low-key, and the site will not have an institutional feel’. But NoBorders‘ investigations have shown conclusively that the centre, will be a detention centre – complete with 2.5-metre perimeter fences, locked areas, internal fences dividing the site into accessible and inaccessible areas, a ‘buffer zone’ inside the perimeter fence, and powers to use force and ‘control and restraint’ techniques on both adults and children. The plans even suggest capacity to segregate difficult families for ‘special attention’ in two special units. All areas will be supervised at all times and ‘routine observation of all parts of the grounds will be undertaken’ (although the application does not refer to CCTV, it is likely that this is what it means). The fact that children, and families, may be allowed to leave the centre on supervised shopping or cinema trips, subject to individual risk assessments, does not mask but in fact highlights the institutional nature of the place. Continue reading “Does Barnardo’s legitimise child detention?”