At today’s public exhibition on the plans to double the size of Campsfield House in Kidlington, Nicola took Home Office officials to task on the details of their proposals for expanding the detention centre near Oxford Airport.
At the exhibition, Nicola was shown the layout and detail of the new proposals, and met with Home Office officials, local campaigners and representatives of the Independent Monitoring Board.
Campsfield House in Kidlington currently holds up to 260 detainees. The Home Office is consulting on more than doubling its size, taking the total capacity to 610 beds. The detainees include refugees who’s status as asylum seeker is either being considered or has been refused, others are ‘overstayers’ who have overstayed their visa, Foreign National Offenders who have committed a crime and are awaiting deportation and detainees who are wanting to return home but are waiting for arrangements to be made.
Nicola has consistently said that we should be improving the speed of decision making in our immigration and asylum system and looking for alternatives to detention rather than expanding our detention programme, and Campsfield House in particular has already struggled to manage with its existing numbers resulting in a series of serious incidents. For that reason plans to expand Campsfield will not work for detainees and they will not work for local residents.
After last winters fire, which required the evacuation of half the detainees, it came to light that there was no sprinkler system in place to protect detainees or workers. After campaigning alongside Dave Etheridge, the Chief Fire Officer, Nicola was pleased that the Home Office agreed to install sprinklers.
Nicola has launched a petition urging the Home Secretary to withdraw proposals for the expansion of the detention centre. Please follow this link the sign her petition: Campsfield Doubling in size? No, Home Secretary.