Over 100 guards designated for duty at the Manston facility in Kent have been receiving full salaries for months despite not performing any work.

The Manston facility, located near Ramsgate, responsible for processing illegal immigrants arriving via dinghies, experienced multiple challenges last year, including a diphtheria outbreak resulting in one immigrant’s death and reports of confrontations between staff and immigrants.

In response to staffing shortages during the peak period, new detention custody officers were recruited to manage incoming dinghy arrivals. However, these recruits, after completing training and initial security checks, are facing months of waiting for Home Office accreditation before they can start working. Throughout this waiting period, they continue to receive an annual salary of £32,500.

Sources reveal that guards who completed training and checks as early as May are waiting to work at Manston but are unable to do so without official accreditation. This situation has raised concerns about the waste of taxpayers’ money as these recruits draw salaries while remaining idle.

Adding to the concern is the impending surge in daily arrivals of illegal immigrants, which could overwhelm the facility, leading to overcrowding and understaffing, posing significant risks. Some of these illegal immigrants could be dangerous, making this situation potentially disastrous.

Despite undergoing thorough vetting processes, including passport and counter-terrorism checks, enhanced DBS, and declarations regarding prohibited organisations such as the BNP and Care4Calais, the delay in Home Office accreditation remains a significant issue.

The recruits have received training in various areas, such as control and restraint, detention powers, immigration control, self-harm and suicide prevention, and have also been educated on human rights.

A Home Office spokesman said:

“Applications for certification as a detainee custody officer are processed on a case-by-case basis. To work in the immigration detention estate, all detainee custody officers must be certified by the Home Office. Certification will only be issued to those judged ready for the role and who have received the appropriate training and clearances.”

This situation clearly highlights the extensive misuse of taxpayers’ resources. With an expected increase in illegal immigration, leaving the facility understaffed could lead to a dangerous situation, considering the potential risks associated with illegal immigration.

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