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Asylum report reveals "significant weaknesses" in deportation

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John Vine, Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency, has found "significant weaknesses" in current deportation procedures for asylum families.

In a report published today, "", Mr Vine focuses on the efficiency and effectiveness of the Agency's approach to removing families who have no right to remain in the United Kingdom. The report also takes into account the Agency's obligation to have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

His investigation reveals that arrests of families occur primarily at the family home between 6.30am and 7am. "While there were reasons for arresting at this time of day, there was no evidence that an assessment had been made of each family's individual circumstances to decide if this was the most effective or proportionate approach," the report states.

The report also finds there was limited evidence that an individual action plan existed for each family which took account of the family's welfare needs and arrangements for them to return home. While Agency staff and managers demonstrated a clear awareness of the advantages of families returning home voluntarily, there were no consistent standards for promoting the option of voluntary return and no consistency in where, when and by whom the discussions with the families should take place.

Mr Vine said: "The removal of families who do not have permission to remain in the United Kingdom is one of the most challenging and sensitive areas of the work undertaken by the UK Border Agency. As a result, I consider it unacceptable that the Agency has no system in place to capture and publish information on families who are subject to removal and those who are detained. Transparency in this area is important. Clear records need to be maintained in each and every family case and information on how the Agency exercises its powers of arrest and detention should be placed routinely in the public domain."

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