No one knows how many children have been snatched from their beds in this way in Britain in the past year. But the Immigration Minister Phil Woolas admitted in a letter to a concerned MP recently that more than 1,300 children were detained at three immigration removal centres in the UK during the 15 months between July 2008 and September 2009.
Some 889 children have been detained for more than 28 days in the past five years. In each of those cases an immigration minister or a judge had to sign a new authorisation every four weeks for their continued detention. The UK now has one of the worst records in Europe for detaining children.