Riot police called out following 'disturbance' at London detention centre

Detainees behind the 'violence and disorder' will be held to account, says immigration minister

The Harmondsworth immigration removal centre is near London's Heathrow airport. AFP
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Police and riot teams have been sent to Harmondsworth detention centre in west London following an overnight disturbance.

It occurred after a power cut at the site, a Home Office representative said. No one was injured.

Detainees behind the "violence and disorder" will be held to account, Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said.

It comes as the Home Office comes under fire over its treatment of migrants and asylum seekers held at detention centres, and Home Secretary Suella Braverman's claim of a migrant "invasion."

Around 100 inmates staged a protest in the courtyard after the power cut, The Guardian reported.

The protest halted a move of about 100 residents to the Manston processing centre in Kent, it added as authorities were preoccupied with the power cut.

No one held at the site is said to have left the premises, known as the Colnbrook immigration removal centre, located close to Heathrow Airport.

"Thankfully no staff working or individuals detained there were hurt, despite clear evidence of unacceptable levels of violence and disorder," Mr Jenrick said.

"The public should be reassured that offenders and others waiting removal from the UK are being held securely.

"The perpetrators of this disturbance will be held to account and, where appropriate, removed from the country as swiftly as is practicable."

In July, a demonstration was held outside the centre over plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The disturbance comes less than a week after a man threw petrol bombs at a migrant centre in the southern port town of Dover. The suspect was later found dead.

Dover is the focal point of British processing of asylum seekers as the country tries to curb the number of people trying to sail the dangerous English Channel route.

Nearly 40,000 have arrived in the UK so far this year after attempting the treacherous trip from France, crossing one of the world's busiest shipping lanes in dinghies and other small boats.

Conditions at Manston have also drawn ire.

The Refugee Council has called for "urgent action" to tackle conditions at the site, which is holding at least 1,000 people more than its capacity.

The situation in Manston is not what it should be,” Cabinet minister Michael Gove said last week, adding the situation at the centre is "deeply concerning."

Updated: November 06, 2022, 5:34 AM