POLICE and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Dafydd Llywelyn has welcomed this week’s news that the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) has begun an inspection of the use of hotels and barracks as contingency asylum accommodation, which includes the Penally Camp in Pembrokeshire.
PCC Dafydd Llywelyn has been calling for an independent inspection of the camp for weeks, following recent protests held by individuals from the camp, and met with David Bolt, the Chief Inspector of Asylum and Immigration earlier in January to discuss his concerns.
PCC Dafydd Llywelyn said; “I welcome today’s news that the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has begun an inspection. I have seen first-hand the difficult circumstances encountered by individuals that are residing at the centre, and on the 5th of January, I met with David Bolt, the Chief Inspector of Asylum and Immigration, who reassured me that an independent inspection of the Centre would take place in the near future.
“This will be a welcomed relief not only to residents of the local community, but also for the individuals who have been residing at the camp”.
The inspection will examine the use made of hotels and other forms of contingency asylum accommodation, including Penally Camp and Napier Barracks, since the beginning of 2020. It will focus on the roles and responsibilities of the Home Office and the accommodation service providers, and also communication between the Home Office and stakeholders such as local authorities, health services, police forces, who PCC Dafydd Llywelyn has criticised on several occasions.
PCC Dafydd Llywelyn said; “The lack of strategic planning around the use of the Penally camp since September 2020, as well as the lack of community engagement has been extremely frustrating. This has led to unnecessary pressure being put on local resources at a time, when we are trying to protect our communities from a global pandemic. As a result, I’m pleased that the inspection will include a focus on communication between the Home Office and stakeholders.
PCC Llywelyn has actively been involved in ensuring adequate resources and planning is in place within Dyfed Powys Police since September 2020, and has confirmed that he is pushing for additional funding from the Home Office to support local resources that have been put under pressure as a result of the decision to utilise the camp as an asylum centre.
ICIBI is inviting anyone with relevant knowledge or experience of the Home Office’s contingency asylum accommodation to submit their evidence to firstname.lastname@example.org. The call for evidence will remain open for four weeks, until 19 February 2021.