16 Mar 2021
Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn welcomes news of immediate closure of Penally Camp
Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn has welcomed the news of the Home Office’s decision to close the asylum accommodation centre in Penally, Pembrokeshire, with all asylum seekers due to be removed from the camp by 21st March 2021.
PCC Dafydd Llywelyn last week called for the immediate closure of the asylum accommodation following a damning inspection report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) and the independent chief inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI).
As well as a lack of Covid protection, fire safety and living conditions concerns, the inspectors found that managers lacked the experience and skills to run large-scale communal accommodation and the Home Office did not exercise adequate oversight. The report also reveals that many residents at the centre said they had mental health problems.
One week on from the damning inspection report, the Home Office have announced that the Centre at Penally is to be closed down, and that all asylum seekers will be removed from the site by 21 March 2021.
Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said; “I’m extremely pleased to hear today’s announcement, and that finally we will see the closure of the asylum centre in Penally.
“I have been continuous in my condemnation of the Home Office’s decision to use the camp to house asylum seekers since September last year, and my concerns are vindicated following the findings of an independent inspection that were published in a damning report last week.
“It will be a welcomed relief not only to local residents in Penally and the surrounding area, but also to the asylum seekers within the centre.
“I am grateful to all local agencies who have worked tirelessly to make the best of this difficult situation. I hope the Home Office have learnt a further lesson about how important it is to consult with local communities and key stakeholders”
“I have seen first-hand the difficult circumstances encountered by individuals residing at the centre. In January, I met with David Bolt, the Chief Inspector of Asylum and Immigration, who reassured me at the time that the independent inspection of the Centre would take place early this year.
“The report findings that were published las week highlighted the concerns and fears that myself and other local stakeholders have raised with the Home Office on several occasions.
“The lack of strategic planning around the use of 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.
“I am glad to see that common sense has prevailed, and that plans are being put in place to relocate all asylum seekers by as early as next week, and that the camp will close once and for all.”
Policy and Engagement Advisor