Home Office enforcement staff used 'unnecessary force'

An inspection of a Gatwick detention centre that houses families before deportation has found that unnecessary force was used during arrests.

The report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) found the Cedars centre was well managed.

Inspectors found extreme force was used for several minutes to batter down the door of one family's home.

The Home Office said it would "carefully consider" the report.

The centre provides pre-departure accommodation for families subject to immigration control who are being removed from the UK.

'Stress of removal'

Forty-two families were held there during 2013 with an average stay of just over three days.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said: "The distress experienced by parents and children who are subject to enforced removals is palpable for anyone who spends time in their company in Cedars.

"More should be done to address the jarring experiences some families have before arrival at Cedars, and to reduce the stress of removal.

"However, Cedars itself remains an example of best practice in caring for families who are to be removed."

A Home Office spokesman said: "We have dramatically reformed the removals process to ensure that the welfare of the child is at the heart of every family return.

"We will carefully consider this report's recommendations and will respond fully in due course."

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