10 Mar 2015

Serious self-harm soars at Harmondsworth since 2012

Serious incidents of self-harm at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre almost quadruple since 2012, Channel 4 News can reveal.

Serious incidents of self harm at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre have almost quadrupled in just two years, Channel 4 News can reveal.

Across all of the UK’s immigrant detention centres the number of self harm incidents requiring medical attention has more than doubled since 2012.

But the levels at Harmondsworth are rising faster than at any other facility.

The figures come just a week after Channel 4 News obtained unprecedented secret footage of life inside the UK’s biggest detention facility.

Our filming showed one desperate detainee crying down the phone to his case worker: “I don’t want to die here”.

Now we can reveal the soaring levels of self harm so severe that medical attention has been required, at the centre next to Heathrow airport.

Figures obtained by Channel 4 News under Freedom of Information laws show that in 2012 there were at least 16 cases of serious self harm.

That rose to 29 incidents in 2013. And last year there were at least 62 incidents – almost a four-fold increase in just two years.

Hunger strike

It was the biggest increase in serious self harm incidents across all of the UK’s 14 immigration removal centres.

Yesterday detainees at Harmondsworth claimed they would launch a hunger strike demanding an end to “indefinite deprivation of liberty and human rights”.

The figures show in 2012 there were a total of at least 150 incidents of self harm requiring medical attention by detainees at all detention centres.

That rose to 265 in 2013, and at least 306 incidents in 2014 – more than double the number just two years before.

In total, there have been at least 721 incidents of serious self harm requiring medical attention at all IRCs between 2012 and 2014.

The greatest number of incidents took place at Brook House IRC at Gatwick, with at least 170 incidents over the period.

* Including short term holding centre
** Began operating as an immigration removal centre in September 2014