Tinsley House, located on the perimeter of Gatwick Airport, opened in 1996. It has a capacity to hold a maximum of just under 150 detainees at any one time, including provision for four families in a separate unit that was completely refurbished in early 2011.
Tinsley became the first centre to hold families in the UK in 2001. The new family unit is used mainly to hold those families who are refused entry into the UK at either a port or airport, and are held for short periods before they are removed on the next available flight. It can apparently also be used for families where the parents have previously served a custodial sentence.
The private security firm G4S is contracted by the UK Border Agency to run Tinsley House. They manage the day-to-day running of the centre but do not have any control over who is detained or for how long they stay in detention.
Many detainees are held for relatively short periods at Tinsley House, particularly compared to Brook House, although some held there stay for much longer periods.
In 2011, we assisted 413 detainees at Tinsley House, all of whom were male.
Approximately 15% of those we were in touch with stayed in the centre for more than 3 months.
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