§ Lord Hylton
asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many persons are held in detention under the Immigration Acts; of these how many are held pending deportation; whether as many as 6,000 persons have been detained during any recent 12-month period; how many current detainees are held in HM Prisons; and how many of those in prison were asylum-seekers, with undecided cases. [HL1027]
§ Lord Bassam of Brighton
A total of 990 persons were detained in immigration detention centres and prison establishments in the United Kingdom solely under Immigration Act powers on 31 January 2000. Of this total, 515 persons were held in prison establishments. This figure is not recorded in such a way as to identify those who were held pending deportation or those in prisons who had applied for asylum at some point. It may be helpful to know that a snapshot report showing the number of persons recorded as being held in detention in the United Kingdom, solely under Immigration Act powers, by182WA place of detention, is placed in the House of Lords Library each month.
From administrative data, it has been estimated that approximately 15,000 persons were detained for the first time under Immigration Act powers during 1999. This figure covers persons held in immigration detention centres, prisons and police cells and, in addition to persons detained solely under Immigration Act powers, includes persons detained under dual immigration and police powers. The estimate may under-record the numbers held in police cells and prisons, particularly those in the north of England. The figure is not intended to be a measure of all persons who spent time in detention during the year, as it counts only the first time a person enters detention and therefore does not include persons held during 1999 who were initially detained in an earlier year. The figure covers both those persons who have applied for asylum at some stage and those who have never applied for asylum, many of whom will have been detained for only a very short period of time.
The latest reliable snapshot of detained asylum seekers relates to those asylum applicants detained in immigration detention centres, prison establishments and police cells solely under Immigration Act powers as at 30 December 1998 for port applicants and 4 January 1999 for in-country applicants. On those dates, 741 such persons were recorded. The location of those detainees is not recorded reliably and it is not therefore possible to state how many were held in prisons. Data recording problems mean that an updated figure is not currently available.