Online Offensive: Contact Mitie

Draft email below:

TWITTER: @mitie

SUBJECT: FAO Phil Bentley and Colin Dobell

Dear Phil and Colin,

On 16th May, I had planned to join others in a protest outside the two immigration removal centres run by your company near Heathrow Airport – Colnbrook and Harmondsworth, known collectively as the Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre. 

The “largest of its kind in Europe”, you boast on your website, with a capacity to lock up 1,100 people. Your lucrative contracts with the Home Office are worth hundreds of millions of pounds. You shamelessly profit from the misery of people who are punished simply for being from the wrong place. I believe that citizenship and status should not be the measure of any human being.

It is well known that conditions in detention centres lead to high rates of physical and mental ill health. The needs and demands of people in detention – some of whom are highly vulnerable Adults at Risk – are serially neglected under your watch. Only last September, a young Nigerian man died in your custody. We remember him, and those who died before him, as we show our solidarity with the living who resist immigration control daily, in ways big and small. 

The fundamental inhumanity of the detention regime has been thrown into sharp relief during the coronavirus crisis. In March, the government made its position terribly clear: it did not intend to carry out a wholesale systematic release of people from immigration removal centres. The High Court unfortunately gave the Home Office permission to continue detention as usual. Yet there have been several reports of inadequate personal protective equipment, space for social distancing, and sanitation within detention centres. And with visits prohibited under lockdown, people are doubly cut off from their support networks. The Black Lives Matter protests and the resultant changes sweeping the globe right now should give your company pause for reflection – they offer a spotlight to the systemic racism which Mitie profits from and the detention regime is built upon.

With no genuine prospect of removal as a result of airline closures and travel restrictions, by your own standards even you must concede that keeping people in detention is an act of senseless cruelty. 

I would demand that you petition the Home Office to release everyone in detention, but you won’t listen. Your business depends upon these contracts. And it’s only business – not human rights, or the public health – that matters to you.

But we will make sure that others do listen, and that the fight to close down these detention centres continues and expands. We will continue to publicise your injustices and attack your reputation, and we won’t stop until we see results – namely, an end to detention, deportation, and the wider hostile environment that operates across all areas of society.

This letter is being sent as part of a coordinated campaign, which is gathering support from local people, councillors and MPs, together with voices from inside detention, and support from groups across the country.

Yours sincerely,