UK’s scale of immigration detention 2010 – 2012

UK’s scale of immigration detention 2010 – 2012

A very brief overview – 19 March 2013

According to the statistics released by the Home Office on 28 February 2013, the UK’s use of immigration detention has shown no sign of decline since the Coalition Government came into power.  While the number of detained children has fallen drastically after the Coalition government’s announcement to end detention of children in May 2010, the overall number of those who enter detention has continued to rise steadily: in 2012, a total of 28,909 people entered detention.  This shows that the radical reform in child detention practice has not had a significant impact on the overall scale of the use of immigration detention.

The number of people entering detention  [1]

Total number of people (adults and children) Children
2009 28,001 1,119
2010 25,904 436
2011 27,089 127 (34 in Cedars)
2012 28,909 222 (121 in Cedars)

At the same time, there has been an increase in the proportion of people are leaving detention to go back into the community.  For those people, their deprivation of liberty served no purpose.

The number of people leaving detention and reasons[2]

Total detainees Removed from the UK Granted leave to enter/remain, temporary admission/release   or bailed Other
2010 25,959 16,577 (64%) 9,082 (35%) 300 (1%)
2011 27,181 16,836 (62%) 10,083 (37%) 262 (1%)
2012 28,538 17,243 (60%) 11,062 (39%) 233 (1%)

Long-term detention of migrants continues.  In 2012, of those who left detention and returned back into the community, 1,241 were detained longer than 3 months, 465 were detained longer than 6 months, and 171 were detained longer than one year[3].

As of 31 December 2012, 2,685 people were in detention[4].  Of those, 31% (822) were in detention longer than 3 months, 14% (375) were in detention longer than 6 months and 5% (134) had been in detention longer than one year.  62% (1,676) of those were asylum-seekers.

(The above briefing is available as a Word document here Mar 2013 detention number overview 2010 – 2012)


[1] The numbers denote those entering Immigration Removal Centres and Short Term Holding Centres.  The figures exclude those held under Immigration Act powers in prisons.  http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/immigration-tabs-q4-2012/?view=Standard&pubID=1156263  See table dt01 of Detention data tables Immigration Statistics October to December 2012 Volume 1.

[2] Based on the analysis of the data available in table dt05 of above.

[3] ditto.

[4] See dt.09.q of Detention data tables Immigration Statistics October to December 2012 Volume 2.

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