Dyfed Powys Police

Panel seeks answers over Penally asylum camp costs

The Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel are seeking answers over costs incurred due to the demand for extra policing at an asylum seekers camp in Pembrokeshire.

The question will be raised at this week’s meeting of the Panel, due to be held virtually at 10.30am on Friday, February 5.

Member of the Panel, Cllr Keith Evans, will ask Dafydd Llywelyn, the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), how much it has cost to police the camp at Penally, which was brought into use by the Home Office to house asylum seekers in September.

The camp has been the subject of significant attention, attracting protests and creating tensions in the surrounding communities.

Cllr Evans plans to ask the Commissioner what actions he has taken in the wake of demand for additional policing, and assurance that policing in other parts of the force area has not been adversely impacted.

Meanwhile, the Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn recently welcomed news that the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) has begun an inspection of the use of hotels and barracks as contingency asylum accommodation, which includes the Penally Camp in Pembrokeshire.

PCC Dafydd Llywelyn has been calling for an independent inspection of the camp, following recent protests held by individuals from the camp, and met with David Bolt, the Chief Inspector of Asylum and Immigration earlier in January to discuss his concerns.

PCC Dafydd Llywelyn said; “I welcome news that the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has begun an inspection. I have seen first-hand the difficult circumstances encountered by individuals that are residing at the centre, and on the 5th of January, I met with David Bolt, the Chief Inspector of Asylum and Immigration, who reassured me that an independent inspection of the Centre would take place in the near future.

“This will be a welcomed relief not only to residents of the local community, but also for the individuals who have been residing at the camp”.

The inspection will examine the use made of hotels and other forms of contingency asylum accommodation, including Penally Camp and Napier Barracks, since the beginning of 2020. It will focus on the roles and responsibilities of the Home Office and the accommodation service providers, and also communication between the Home Office and stakeholders such as local authorities, health services, police forces, who PCC Dafydd Llywelyn has criticised on several occasions.

PCC Dafydd Llywelyn said; “The lack of strategic planning around the use of the Penally 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. As a result, I’m pleased that the inspection will include a focus on communication between the Home Office and stakeholders.  

PCC Llywelyn has confirmed that he is pushing for additional funding from the Home Office to support local resources that have been put under pressure as a result of the decision to utilise the camp as an asylum centre.

ICIBI is inviting anyone with relevant knowledge or experience of the Home Office’s contingency asylum accommodation to submit their evidence to chiefinspector@icibi.gov.uk. The call for evidence will remain open for four weeks, until 19 February 2021.

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