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Home office wrong detentions costing millions in compensation

Speaking at the Commons debate on Deportation Flight to Jamaica on 10 February 2020, Stephen Doughty MP pointed out:  “The Home Office had wrongly detained 312 people at a cost of £8.2 million in compensation in just one year, 2018-19. That was up from 212 cases, costing £5 million, in 2017-18”.

The detention figures give no detail about who was wrongly held, although it is likely that these numbers contain some Windrush individuals who were wrongly sent to immigration removal centres or prisons ahead of deportation.

The Windrush generation refers to people from Caribbean countries who were invited by the British government between 1948 and 1971 to migrate to the UK as it faced a labour shortage due to the destruction caused by World War II. Not all of these migrants have documentation confirming their immigration status and therefore some may have been dealt with under immigration powers.

David Lammy MP asked the home secretary Priti Patel if she will make a statement on the suppression of the Windrush lessons learned review and its implications for the deportation flight that is set to leave the country on Wednesday (12th February) but she left the Chamber and instead her minister Kevin Foster arrogantly answered the questions.

Reflecting on the minister’s behaviour, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the public will note the very dismissive attitude that the minister has taken to the serious urgent question. One problem with this deportation flight is that it is not clear how many people on it came to this country as children, she said.

The home office wrongly detained more than 850 people between 2012 and 2017, some of whom were living in the UK legally, and the government was forced to pay out more than £21m in compensation as a result, officials have revealed.

Figures released to the home affairs select committee show there were 171 cases of wrongful immigration detention in 2015-16, triggering compensation payments totalling £4.1m, and 143 cases in 2016–17, triggering a further £3.3m in compensation.

Between 2012 and 2015 a total of £13.8m was paid out to more than 550 people after a period of unlawful immigration detention.

The home affairs committee has said a series of “irresponsible” failures by the department had led to people being wrongfully detained, held in immigration when they are vulnerable or unnecessarily detained for too long. 11/02/2020