HL Deb 02 July 2003 vol 650 cc102-3WA
Lord Beaumont of Whitley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many children in families were held in removal centres in the United Kingdom in the first quarter of 2003 for:

  1. (a) 1–7 days;
  2. (b) 7–14 days; and
  3. (c) longer than 14 days. [HL3574]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal

The information requested is not available and could only be obtained by examination of individual case-files at disproportionate cost.

Dungavel, Harmondsworth, Oakington and Tinsley House are the only Immigration Service Removal Centres (IRC's) that deal with family cases. An exercise was carried out on 2 April 2003 to assess the number of children under the age of 18 detained in these IRC's, the results of which are contained in the table.

Immigration Service Removal Centre Children under 18 years of age in detention at 2 April 2003
Dungavel 21
Harmondsworth 18
Oakington 14
Tinsley 3
Total 56

Minors are detained only in two limited circumstances: first, as part of a family group whose detention is considered appropriate; second, when unaccompanied, while alternative care arrangements are made and normally just overnight.