Oakington IRC was a UK immigration removal centre. It opened in March 2000, under Group 4/Group 4 Falck and its subsidiary Global Solutions Ltd.(GSL). GSL was later acquired by G4S, who continued to run the centre. Oakington closed in 2010 after repeated scandals.
Within its first month of opening, six detainees escaped from Oakington.
2005 BBC undercover
In March 2005, when Oakington was run by Global Solutions Ltd. (GSL), BBC journalists got jobs at the centre and produced 'Detention Undercover – the Real Story'. The programme included secret filming of GSL employees verbally abusing and threatening inmates, and talking about using physical violence when out of sight of any CCTV cameras, for example in lifts and vans.
After the screening of the programme, GSL released a statement purporting to be 'shocked and dismayed' by its contents, eager to reassure everyone that the activities described were only carried out by a violent minority. However, this abuse had been going on for a long time, and the fact that the company does nothing about it until being exposed on national TV was hardly encouraging. Visitors to detainees confirmed that the problem was much wider than a violent minority, and were not remotely surprised by the contents of the programme.
After the screening of the programme, immigration minister Des Browne called for an official independent investigation into the allegations made in the programme; GSL undertook an internal investigation. A further inquiry was made by prison ombudsman Stephen Shaw.
2010 death of Eliud Nguli Nyenze
On 15 April 2010, Eliud Nguli Nyenze, "a 40-year-old Kenyan man died at Oakington removal centre in Cambridge after apparently suffering a heart attack. Campaigners and other detainees alleged that he had been refused medical care. Following his death a disturbance erupted at Oakington and at least sixty people were transferred to prisons. In the days following his death, G4S, which operated the centre, was stripped of its British Safety Council award for its ‘commitment to improving health and safety’. An inquest in October 2010 was told that Eliud had collapsed in his room and had earlier been refused paracetamol despite complaining that he was unwell. An ambulance took twenty minutes to reach the centre and the nurse who went to treat him did not take a defibrillator with her. The Home Office pathologist could find no cause of death but suggested sudden adult death syndrome. The inquest jury recorded a verdict that he died of natural causes, a verdict Eliud’s family were unhappy with", according to the Institute of Race Relations.
- Oakington immigration centre officially closes, BBC, 12 November 2010
- Refugees vanish from detention centre, BBC, 28 March 2000
- 'Probe into immigrant abuse claims', BBC, 1 March 2005
- 'Asylum abuse “is not surprising”', BBC, 2 March 2005
- Deaths in Immigration Detention, Harmit Athwal, IRR News, 8 May 2014