Detention Action Press Release – for immediate release
Wednesday 6th November 2019

The Home Secretary has announced that she will be upgrading the investigation by the Prisons Probation Ombudsman (PPO) into the abuse uncovered by the BBC’s 2017 Panorama at Brook House IRC into a full public inquiry. This comes six months after judges ruled that a public inquiry should be held and G4S staff compelled to give evidence.

The Home Secretary’s announcement comes over 2 years after the abuse was publicly uncovered.

The ruling was a result of a legal challenge against the Home Office’s response to the revelations, brought by two victims of abuse at Brook House – MA, represented by Duncan Lewis Solicitors, and BB, represented by Deighton Pierce Glynn. The claimants argued that abuse of such seriousness and scale requires a full inquiry, compliant with the UK’s obligations under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The High Court ruled that the PPO’s original plan to investigate was not sufficient as G4S staff would not have been compelled to appear and give evidence. The presiding judges warned there was a “real risk amounting [to] an overwhelming probability that former G4S staff will not attend voluntarily to give evidence”, and said they saw “no justification for waiting”.

The inquiry will be led by prison safety Kate Eves, with the Home Secretary expecting the final report in 12 months. This will be 3 years after the Panorama programme uncovering the abuse – “Undercover: Britain’s immigration secrets” – aired on the BBC.

James Wilson, Acting Director of Detention Action said: We welcome the confirmation of this vital public inquiry into the appalling abuse that took place at Brook House. It is, though, completely unacceptable that it has taken more than two years since Panorama to reach this point. Those who suffered at Brook House continue to experience a very long wait for answers.

We hope that the inquiry will examine all factors contributing to the conditions at Brook House, including the fundamental injustice of indefinite immigration detention in the UK”.


For media enquiries, please contact James Wilson by phone on 020 7062 4211, or email at

Spokespeople are available for broadcast interview.