New STHF to open in Kent

Expansion to the detention estate to 'process' small boat arrivals

A new short term holding facility is to open at the Ministry of Defence site at Manston in Kent, AVID has learned. 

The site will initially hold people who have crossed the channel in small boats, and will operate as a non residential STHF from January 2022.  However, the site will be 'further developed' and the intention is that it will become a residential STHF. 

Under the STHF Rules, people can be held for up to five days, or up to seven with additional authorisation. WIth the opening of IRC Derwentside this month, this brings the total number of residential detention facilities in the UK to 10 (seven IRCs and three residential STHFs).

AVID has asked for further information about the capacity at the site, and whether the facility will hold men, women or families. We are also concerned that this new facility is being opened without any consultation, and is further evidence of the increasingly 'grey zone' of detention that we have been monitoring over the last year. It also increases the number of detention bed spaces in the UK, a figure that had been on the decline following the commitments made to detention reform in 2018. 

Detention is a wholly unsuitable environment for people who have made traumatic crossings and who are seeking asylum. Sites of quasi detention were recently criticised by the APPG on Detention in their recent Inquiry. You can find more information on the APPG report here

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Publication date: 
Monday, December 20, 2021