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REPORTING SOUNDS is an interactive website allowing you to explore the impact of Home Office reporting on the daily lives of migrants including asylum seekers living in the UK.

Reporting to the Home Office – typically referred to as “signing” or “signing on” – is a condition of immigration bail and is therefore a mandatory requirement for asylum-seekers awaiting a decision on their application to remain in the UK.

APPROXIMATELY 90,000 MIGRANTS ARE SUBJECT TO REGULAR REPORTING REQUIREMENTS, WITH 13 REPORTING CENTRES ACROSS THE UK, AND AN ESTIMATED COMPLIANCE RATE OF 95%.

Reporting involves attending a Home Office building or police station, usually on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, but for some, up to two or three days every single week. While reporting is presented by the Home Office as a means of keeping track of people while their asylum claim is pending, individuals subjected to it face significant difficulties both in financing and in traveling to and from their reporting appointments, due to the remoteness of many of these sites, often located in difficult to access areas far from city centres. As well, the Home Office utilise reporting appointments for targeting potential deportees, meaning that each time an individual attends, they face possible arrest, detainment and removal. This makes it an immensely stressful process yet one which individuals are forced to comply with in line with the terms of their immigration bail, very often for years on end. Those who do not comply, risk losing any asylum support they may be entitled to, and face possible arrest, detainment and removal.

Detailed research has demonstrated the failings of the immigration bail reporting regime, including the mental and physical health impacts of reporting conditions on vulnerable migrants as well as the economic costs in-person reporting entails.

The Reporting Office

Reporting imposes various forms of surveillance over signers each time they attend their reporting appointments. At the reporting centre in Patchway, as soon as the person walks into the building and enters the waiting area they are subjected to visual and audio surveillance through a visible 360 degree camera and a large microphone which protrudes from the ceiling. The actual reporting appointment takes place inside a small, enclosed office with a door operated automatically by the officer conducting the reporting process. When someone is detained, this is visible to the other signers as well as to the volunteers, as Border Enforcement guards will escort the person from the small office and walk past the waiting area – where the signers are waiting – to a different room for further questioning, and then through automatic locked double doors on to the holding cells, also clearly visible from the waiting area. Unsurprisingly, witnessing others being detained at the reporting centre was particularly harrowing for those waiting to report.

Patchway police station, which has been the official reporting centre for Bristol and the surrounding area since 2014, moved from its previous location at Trinity Road, in the centre of Bristol. Located in South Gloucestershire, Patchway is seven miles from central Bristol, and for the significant majority of people who travel there by bus, requires a 60-90 minute journey each way.

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