Asylum seekers: Napier Barracks and Penally camp ‘filthy and run-down’on March 8, 2021 at 5:54 pm

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Inspectors criticised conditions at Napier Barracks in Folkestone and Penally camp in Pembrokeshire.

Wash room at Penally Camp

image copyrightICIBI

Migrants were housed in cramped and filthy conditions at a military barracks, inspectors have said.

Some of the most vulnerable people were living in a “decrepit” block unfit for habitation at Kent’s Napier Barracks.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons also visited Penally Camp in Pembrokeshire. They said both sites were “run-down”.

The Home Office said it had instructed service providers to make improvements.

Labour has said the findings are “utterly unbelievable”.

Room at Napier

image copyrightICIBI

Inspectors said both sites – which witnessed protests over living conditions in January – were “run-down and unsuitable”, but particularly criticised Napier.

They said given the cramped, communal conditions, “once one person was infected [with Covid] a large-scale outbreak was virtually inevitable” at the site.

In January, 178 people tested positive for the virus at Napier.

Many men said they were depressed, and a survey found a third of respondents at both sites had mental health problems, while a third at Napier had felt suicidal.

Living and sleeping area at Napier

image copyrightICIBI

Inspectors said contractors were given less than two weeks to make both sites operational, and local stakeholders, including healthcare, were not consulted and were given insufficient time to prepare.

They listed concerns about the asylum process, including that many residents were told they would be there for weeks, but had been there several months – a major cause of distress that left them not trusting anything they were told.

Home Secretary Priti Patel, who has repeatedly defended the use of Napier, last month said: “This site has previously accommodated our brave soldiers and army personnel. It is an insult to say that it is not good enough for these individuals.”

Shadow immigration minister, Holly Lynch, said: “The Home Secretary has recklessly put the lives of all those staying at the sites, those working there, and the surrounding communities, at risk during a pandemic.”

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: “During these unprecedented times we have met our statutory duty to provide asylum seekers, who would otherwise be destitute, with suitable accommodation and three meals a day all paid for by the British taxpayer.

“We expect the highest possible standards from our service providers and have instructed them to make improvements at the site.”

Following inspections in February and a follow-up visit to Napier on Thursday, inspectors will now produce a detailed report that will be submitted to Ms Patel.

Penally Camp

image copyrightICIBI

The findings were released on the same day that 115 people crossed the English Channel in seven boats in continued attempts to reach the UK, which the government has said are facilitated by criminals.

Last year, nearly 8,500 people attempted the journey.

The Home Office has said people should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach rather than making the crossings, and has said illegal migrants are being returned to safe countries.

Living accommodation at Penally Camp

image copyrightICIBI

Presentational grey line

Follow BBC South East on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram. Send your story ideas to

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.

- Advertisement -




Jerusalem crisis: Pleas for calm as violence escalateson May 11, 2021 at 12:58 am

The EU, the US and the EU call for the violence to stop after Israel and the Palestinians exchange fire. Countries worldwide have appealed...

How Congo-Brazzaville’s shark population came under threaton February 16, 2021 at 12:12 am

The shark population off Congo-Brazzaville is threatened as desperate fishermen search deeper waters.image copyrightChristopher ClarkShark fishermen from the central African country Congo-Brazzaville say they...

Guatemala police free 126 migrants from abandoned containeron October 10, 2021 at 3:18 am

Police say the mainly Haitian migrants were left by smugglers paid to take them to the US.Image source, PNC de GuatemalaPolice in Guatemala have...

Eleven people rescued from waterfalls beauty spot near Crianlarichon August 9, 2021 at 9:12 pm

Mountain rescue teams were called to reports of a crowd struggling amid rising water levels at the Falls of Falloch.image sourceJohn Ferguson/GeographEleven people have...

Liberty Steel won’t receive £170m bailouton March 28, 2021 at 4:54 pm

The government refuses a request for £170m to support the struggling metals group.image copyrightLiberty SteelThe government has rejected a request for £170m in financial...