The Channel migrant processing centre has become like a “pressure cooker” with outbreaks of violence and threats to staff, the Government has been warned.
The POA union representing security staff trying to keep order at Manston processing centre in Kent said tensions had risen as migrants were being held in it for a week rather than the intended 24 to 48 hours.
A spokesman for the POA said: "A member working at the site likened the situation to a pressure cooker coming to the boil with a jammed release valve. She described the ability to move people on from the site in a timely manner as that pressure release valve.
"We have had reports of incidents escalating, altercations between residents boiling over and resulting in injury with police having to be called to the site to investigate assaults and provide support to staff.”
The ISU union representing Border Force officers said two members of staff had been bitten by migrants, one after getting one onto a coach, and a second while taking fingerprints, and another kicked in the head, requiring medical checks at hospital.
The delays in moving the migrants on to hotels or accommodation meant the site had become overcrowded with 1,200 people, double what was initially planned.
Food and water shortages
It follows a continued surge in the number of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats with 7,961 arriving in September. More than 33,000 migrants have reached the UK so far this year, against 28,400 for the whole of 2021.
The POA said the facility is a "significant improvement" to the Tug Haven processing site at the Port of Dover, however they say the Manston facility is struggling to perform its role. "There have been days where the facility has run out of food and drinking water for residents,” they said.
"The marquees are crowded, levels of bedding on site have become inadequate, laundry facilities are inadequate, cleaning regimes are not adhered to, and issues have been raised around high levels of condensation within the marquees which has led to mould and bacteria developing.
"We will today write to Charlie Taylor, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons and urge his inspectorate to attend and assess the developing situation."