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People seeking safety in Scotland are being held in police cells for up to 72 hours under immigration detention powers.

Since April, the majority of people that have been held in police cells in Scotland under immigration detention powers are from countries which have a high refugee recognition rate like Iran, Afghanistan or Eritrea.

We conducted FOIs which revealed this information. The FOI data breaks down the numbers of people who have been held by nationality, the police station in which they were held and for how long.

You can read the full FOI response here.

People have also been held by Police Scotland who are from countries with high trafficking rates.

We’re really worried that most people held in these police cells are likely to be found to be refugees or survivors of trafficked exploitation. Many people who have arrived irregularly in Scotland do go on to claim asylum. We’re also worried that the treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum is becoming increasingly punitive in the UK.

These people are being held in cells because of the way they arrived in the country. The new Nationality & Borders Act makes it much harder for people who are forced to arrive in the UK via whichever route they possibly can to access the asylum system or be identified as trafficking survivors.

Police Scotland is receiving significant amounts of public money from the Home Office to hold people under these powers.

We need to see a clear human rights-based procedure for how new arrivals to Scotland are treated, no matter the route they took to get here. This procedure must allow people to access support and protection systems as well as safe accommodation.

A police cell is no place for someone seeking refugee protection or who has survived trafficked exploitation.

We must do better than this.

This post was originally published on Scottish Refugee Council.


[1][2] In the news Archives - Scottish Refugee Council ➤[3] Nationality and Borders Bill Archives - Scottish Refugee Council ➤