Brook and Tinsley House IRC's
Tinsley House, located on the perimeter of Gatwick Airport, opened in 1996. It was the first purpose built IRC in the UK. Since reopening following refurbishment in 2017, it has a capacity of 178 people at any one time, including a pre-departure accommodation unit with spaces for families. Families can be held for up to 72 hours before departure from the UK. In exceptional circumstances, and with ministerial authority, this can be extended for up to 1 week.
The private security firm G4S is contracted by the Home Office 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.
People detained are not allowed out of Tinsley House, and personal possessions within the Centre are restricted. People are allowed to visit daily in the communal visits room, and are advised to book ahead. For directions and visiting hours please click here. Accommodation is provided in small rooms of two to four people in each. Those detained are locked into the accommodation corridors during the night.
Brook House opened in March 2009, and is located about half a mile from Tinsley House, on the south perimeter of Gatwick Airport. It has the capacity to hold 448 men, divided into four separate wings. The centre is run on behalf of the Home Office by the private security firm G4S. A higher-security facility than Tinsley House, equivalent to a category B prison, Brook House sees a higher level of long-term detention than Tinsley.
The building is composed of four accommodation wings, with a central activities area, to which those detained have restricted access. The vast majority of detainees are held in two- or three-man cells. There is also a seclusion unit with a few single cells, for detainees who are removed from general association, and another unit to hold some people the night before their flight out of the UK. Those detained are locked into their rooms from 9pm-8am and locked onto their wings at meal times.
Visitors to Brook House must book a visit at least 24 hours in advance. For more information please click here or call 01293 566559. All visitors must take along photographic ID, proof of address and be prepared to be searched on entry. Property can be dropped off, as long as it does not exceed the total weight limits allowed for each detainee.
Other Detention Centres
There are eight main detention centres in the UK, with around 3000 people detained at any one time. There are various security contractors who run the centres so, as a result, staff training, official visiting hours and security measures may vary across the detention estate.
It is common for detainees to be transferred around the various detention centres throughout their period of detention, and each centre has a visitors’ group similar to us. You can find the details of other visitors groups from the Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID).