• Journey to reporting centre: 5.6 miles
  • Average journey time: 1 hr
  • Cost: £5.30 return

Samuel is a young man from a country in central Africa. He had to leave behind his wife and two young children in his country of origin, in order to seek asylum in the UK.

So one day I just turned up to sign as usual and two police men stood behind me, one on the door, not allowing me to go out, and the second one said to me “Listen, just follow us and don’t try to do anything which can damage your case.

So what I did I just followed them, and I spent an entire day there in the police station and by something like 10pm, they moved me to Campsfield in Oxford.

I used to sign between 10 and 10:30, so they caught me at 10 in the morning and I stayed there until they moved me to Oxford and that was something like more than 6 hours. In a very cold room. It was so cold.

They said my application was refused and I would have to be deported. That was what they said. And I started… my blood pressure just sky-rocketed.

There was a very casual blanket, with this thin mattress with no cover, just like a plastic cover which was also very cold. And they really make me feel like I was in a lab… Like a species in a lab. They would come and open the little door looking at you, and they got this mirror in the corner, so they can see someone in the toilet so they are looking at it and see what they’re doing…. in the cell, it looks a little bit small but it’s like…. it’s a like a tomb you can’t hear any noise, you don’t hear anything.

I feel really diminished. It was really shameful because you can look at your self and you don’t see what you’ve done wrong. And it’s why, you came to seek safety and you find yourself in prison because I wasn’t different from someone who committed a crime or whatever an offender can do to be, I am in the same situation as him. My only offence was to seek asylum in a foreign land, it was really shameful.

Like looking at myself and saying “What have I done wrong?” Trying to ask that sort of question, and the only answer is because you are a foreigner, you’re basically a stranger.

“What have I done wrong?”

While reporting centres, are designed for the most part, for keeping track of people’s whereabouts, they also serve as discreet sites for expediating the removal process. The Home Office utilise reporting sites for targeting potential deportees, meaning each time an individual attends their reporting appointment, they face possible arrest and detainment. Reporting centres therefore, also feature onsite holding cells where a person being detained can be held for hours on end, until Immigration Enforcement escorts the to an immigration removal centre.

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