To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what his policy is on detaining in Immigration Removal Centres people who claim to be under 18 years old but whose age is disputed by his Department.
2 July 2019
The Government ended the routine detention of children in immigration re-moval centres in 2010. Current Home Office policy maintains this position. However, although many asylum seekers who claim to be children do not have any definitive documentary evidence to support their claimed age, the Home Office does not treat an individual as an adult when there is doubt about whether they are an adult or a child. In cases where new information comes to light or concerns are raised, which indicate that a person who has been detained as an adult may be a child, we would seek to release them in to the care of local authority children’s services at the earliest safe opportunity for an age assessment and they will be treated as a child whilst the outcome is awaited.
The Home Office publishes information on the number of children in detention on the last day of each quarter. The data is available in the detention tables (dt_13_q) in the latest release of ‘Immigration Statistics, year ending March 2019’, available from the Home Office website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/803188/detention-mar-2019-tables.ods.