The statutory Detention Centre Rules 2001, published Operating Standards for immigration removal centres (IRCs) and published Detention Services Orders set out the requirements for availability and access to telephones, the internet and email.
Detention Services Order 08/2012 sets out the Home Office’s policy on detainees’ possession of mobile phones in IRCs. Detainees are able to retain their own mobile telephones throughout their detention, provided their handset has no recording facility and/or access to the internet. Where a detainee’s handset does not comply with these restrictions they are provided with a suitable handset by the immigration removal centre supplier so that they may maintain contact with friends, family and other means of support.
The provision of internet access in immigration removal centres helps detainees to remain in contact with family, friends and legal representatives and to prepare for removal.
Detention Services Order 04/2016 provides guidance on access to the internet. It is a contractual requirement that all immigration removal centres provide detainees with reasonable and regulated access to the internet and IT facilities. The Home Office is undertaking an initial scoping exercise on the use of Skype for detainee contact with families abroad.