POLICE and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn has called for the immediate closure of the asylum accommodation in Penally following a damning inspection report.

As well as a lack of Covid protection, the report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) and the independent chief inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) raises fire safety and living conditions concerns, and 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.

Mr Llywelyn said:

“Following this independent report, and its damning verdict, I am calling for the immediate closure of the asylum centre at Penally.

“I have been in continuous 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 Independent Inspector’s initial findings that have been published this week.

“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 this independent inspection of the centre would take place.

“I am now pleased that the report findings highlight the concerns and fears that myself and other local stakeholder 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 now calling on the Home Office to make alternative arrangements and that we see the closure of the Penally centre once and for all”.