About Gatwick Immigration Removal Centre

Find out more about Brook House and Tinsley House at Gatwick IRC and immigration contracts across the UK.

Immigration removal van parked at Gatwick

About Gatwick IRC

Gatwick IRC comprises Brook House and Tinsley House and has a total operational capacity of 626 detainees. Pre-departure accommodation exists within Tinsley House for a small number of families, any of which can be held for up to 72 hours before being removed from the UK, or up to one week following ministerial approval.  Under the new contract, Serco will manage and deliver operations at both Centres, however G4S will continue to provide detainee healthcare on behalf of NHS England.

Serco will provide a total staffing compliment of 583 staff across both Centres of which 409 will be Detention Custody Officers and 63 Detention Operations Managers. There will be no fewer than 170 staff on duty in any given 24-hour period.

Yarls wood immigration removal centre_dco with detainees learning

Immigration across the UK

In the UK there are currently seven Immigration centres that can hold a total population of 2,692 detainees at any one time:

  • Dungavel IRC, South Lanarkshire, 249 detainees (Geo Group)
  • Morton Hall IRC, Lincolnshire, 392 detainees (Prison Service)
  • Yarl’s Wood IRC, Bedfordshire, 410 detainees (Serco)
  • Heathrow IRC, Colnbrook and Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1015 detainees (Mitie)
  • Gatwick IRC, Brook House and Tinsley House, West Sussex, 626 detainees (Serco)

About Brook House and Tinsley House

External view of Brook House building during the day in 2020

Brook House

Brook House opened in March 2009 and is located on the south perimeter of Gatwick Airport.  It has the capacity to hold 448 adult males, on 5 separate wings that are connected by a communal corridor where facilities such as healthcare, visits, education and recreational activities are located.  Built to category B prison standard, the centre experiences a higher level of long-term detention than Tinsley House. The Home Office has stated that as a general rule IRCs in the UK will not operate above 80% operational capacity.

The majority of detainees are accommodated in two-person cells.  Under the new contract, detainees will receive more time to associate with each other and will be locked in their rooms from 10pm to 7am.

Approximately 45% of detainees held in Brook House are Time Served Foreign National Offenders, some of which pose challenging and difficult to manage behaviour. On average there are 60 different nationalities and 30 different languages spoken at Brook House at any one time.

Around 50% of detainees held in Brook House are removed from the UK, 30% are released into the community by way of temporary admission, unconditional release or bail. The remaining 20% of detainees tend to be short-term transfers from other IRCs or prisons, normally detainees requiring embassy interviews.

Exterior view of entrance to Tinsley House building Gatwick IRC

Tinsley House

Tinsley House opened in 1996 and was the first purpose-built IRC in the UK.  It is located approx. half a mile from Brook House on the perimeter of Gatwick Airport.  The Centre underwent significant refurbishment in 2017 and now has the capacity to accommodate 162 detainees, including a small number of families.  The design of Tinsley House provides free flowing movement throughout its confines; therefore, all detainees are low-risk and seldom display challenging behavior.

Detainees are accommodated in two to six person rooms and unlike Brook House, the doors remain unlocked 24 hours per day.

In addition to the small family unit, Tinsley House also offers short-term Border Force accommodation for any family who is refused entry into the UK by Border Force officers. None of the families accommodated at Tinsley House come into contact with any other detainees during their short stays.