Are you OK with cookies?

We use small files called ‘cookies’ on Some are essential to make the site work, some help us to understand how we can improve your experience, and some are set by third parties. You can choose to turn off the non-essential cookies. Which cookies are you happy for us to use?


  1. There was a significant drug problem during the relevant period at Brook House, particularly with the new psychoactive substance known as spice, a synthetic drug that mimics the effect of the active ingredient in cannabis1.
  2. The number of detained people requiring medical assistance as a result of drug use fluctuated significantly, with 1 in April 2017, 15 in May 2017, 33 in June 2017 and 7 in July 20172. Evidence received by the Inquiry demonstrates the significant impact that the use of spice could have on detained people.

4.1 D1851 described seeing “spice, drugs, people collapsing, emergencies, people looking like zombies every day, piling on each other3. He said it was “not uncommon to see people wetting themselves, collapsing and frothing at the mouth” due to spice.4 Others described seeing or experiencing bad reactions to spice.5

4.2 On 13 May 2017, both D232 and D1667 collapsed and suffered seizures, apparently after smoking spice. They were both moved to E Wing for monitoring but later that day were able to smoke spice for a second time, requiring a further medical response. One member of the medical team and another staff member remarked that it was only a matter of time before a detained person died as a result of taking spice.6 This was echoed by Detention Custody Manager (DCM) Shane Farrell in his evidence to the Inquiry.7

4.3 On 15 June 2017, D149 suffered a severe response to spice, leading to an ambulance being called.8 There were four medical responses to spice attacks that day, three of which took place simultaneously.9 On other occasions in June 2017, detained people suffered a bad reaction to spice, to which some managers and nurses responded unprofessionally by making jokes or mocking comments.10

4.4 Both D852 and D1275 were suspected by staff of being used as drug guinea pigs by other detained people.11 Mr Anton Bole, a team leader at the Forward Trust (a substance misuse charity), also told the Inquiry about vulnerable detained people being used in this way, but said he did not think it happened often.12

  1. This was not a problem unique to Brook House – it arose at other immigration removal centres (IRCs) as well as within the prison estate.13 However, Professor Mary Bosworth, the Inquiry’s cultural expert, considered the extent of the drug problem at Brook House to be “shocking”, referring to the “number of times that the footage showed people having medical emergencies as a result of having taken spice”. She considered that “one of the very basic aspects of the institution had failed, which was to provide a secure institution”.14 In its report following an October–November 2016 inspection, HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) observed: “The supply and misuse of drugs was the most significant threat to security.”15
  2. There appeared to be a lack of training on dealing with spice attacks.16 Detention Custody Officer (DCO) Darren Tomsett said that his approach would be to get Healthcare to attend as quickly as possible and put the person in the recovery position and make sure they were comfortable in the meantime.17 He was recorded describing a detained person who had taken spice as a “fucking idiot” in a conversation with DCO Callum Tulley.18 Mr Tomsett told the Inquiry that this was because he “didn’t think that they should be taking and using the spice and the different drugs that were in the centre”, adding that he thought people took spice “as a crutch” and “an escape … from … the realities of having to reside in Brook House.19 There was also some evidence of staff acting in a caring manner, and a large number of detained people were referred by staff to the Forward Trust for specialist support regarding substance misuse.20
  3. G4S told the Inquiry about various steps it took to prevent drugs from entering Brook House, including searching individuals, communal areas and property.21 One difficulty in detecting spice was that it could be sprayed onto paper and sent in the post.22 It is clear that visitors (including families and non-governmental organisations (NGOs)) were subject to searches, in accordance with G4S policy.23 Despite this, several witnesses believed that this was the primary way in which drugs were being brought into Brook House.24 This may have been, at least in part, due to staff being insufficiently trained to identify drug transfers during visits.25 Similarly, some detained people and their cells were searched, particularly from June 2017 onwards.26 However, DCO Daniel Lake told the Inquiry that staffing levels did not enable the challenge of individuals or searching of cells, as there were often only two staff on a wing, while he understood that searches required three officers.27
  4. There was also a G4S policy to carry out random searching of staff, based on intelligence and directed by the Head of Security.28 A staff search record showed only one set of random searches during the relevant period – on 4 May 2017.29 Most staff asked by the Inquiry indicated that they either were not subject to random searches or were searched very rarely.30
  5. The Inquiry received evidence alleging that staff members brought drugs into Brook House. For example, D393 said that spice was openly used at Brook House and that he heard other detained people talking about staff supplying it to them.31 This was echoed by D180, D1876 and D1538.32 DCO Shayne Munroe suggested that senior management and DCMs were aware that drugs were being brought into Brook House but said that “it didn’t appear like much was being done to fix the problem”.33
  6. There were specific allegations against individual staff members, to which the response from G4S was slow and inadequate.

10.1 Between October 2016 and February 2017, a large number of Corruption Prevention reports were logged, reflecting reports that DCO Luke Instone-Brewer – among others – was smuggling drugs and smartphones into Brook House and supplying them to detained people in exchange for money.34

10.2 Ms Stacie Dean, Head of Tinsley House, also told the Inquiry that she had seen and submitted security reports about Mr Instone-Brewer and DCO Babatunde Fagbo dealing spice, and that it was “a common talking point and was widely acknowledged”.35

10.3 In January 2017, Ms Dean informed Mr Jeremy Petherick (Managing Director of G4S Custodial and Detention Services) that Mr Instone- Brewer and Mr Fagbo were “known to be supplying spice to detainees.36 She noted: “there has not been a single staff search since this information has been known, Steve [Mr Stephen Skitt, Deputy Director of Brook House during the relevant period] constantly fobs off decisions.36 The Inquiry saw no record of Mr Petherick taking any action upon receipt of this information.

10.4 Both Mr Instone-Brewer and Mr Fagbo denied the allegations of smuggling drugs or other items into Brook House or supplying them to detained people, and said that they had no knowledge of these accusations prior to the Inquiry.37 Mr Fagbo thought that the accusation that he was bringing in drugs was related to the fact that he is a person of colour.38 He recalled that two other officers were investigated for bringing in drugs, but he could not remember their names.39

10.5 A limited investigation was conducted at some stage after Mr Instone- Brewer resigned in July 2017, but ultimately the “Police did [a] financial background check and [there was] nothing in [his] bank”.40 Mr Skitt said that Mr Fagbo and Mr Instone-Brewer had been “looked at from a Corruption Prevention point of view” and that “We involved the Police and they were doing some work on it”, but nothing came of it and the intelligence dried up.41 He told the Inquiry that intelligence suggested that staff members were bringing in drugs, but the evidence to prove it had not been obtained.42 Mr Skitt accepted that there were some failures with staff searches but said that he preferred targeted rather than routine searching.43

10.6 However, there does not appear to have been much targeted searching. Mr Instone-Brewer was recorded as having been searched only twice.44 The first search took place in May 2017, six months after the first intelligence was received about him, and the second was in July 2017, five days before he resigned.45 The six months during which G4S knew of allegations about Mr Instone-Brewer but took no steps to carry out searches or any other monitoring undermine their position that:

“when staff members became suspicious about their monitoring, they would resign before any/sufficient evidence could be obtained to refer the matter to the police [or] to commence formal disciplinary proceedings”.46

  1. Ms Michelle Brown, a member of the Senior Management Team (SMT) at the time, also said that if she received information about staff bringing in unauthorised items she reported it via the Security Information Report (SIR) process.47 She recalled that when she started as Head of Security at Brook House in June 2017 she found a large volume of SIRs “locked in a safe, all of which related to “staff issues in terms of corruption including alleged drug usage, particularly around steroid use or conveyance”.48 Ms Munroe also told the Inquiry that she would write SIRs to record when she was told names of staff bringing in drugs.49 Despite this, the Inquiry received only one SIR that possibly related to staff members smuggling or supplying drugs; this was produced by a DCO and was vague and speculative.50
  2. It is clear that G4S and the Home Office were aware that drugs were available in Brook House.51) The frequent use of drugs and the consequences, as set out above, suggest that there was a failure to take sufficient or adequate steps to control the availability and use of drugs, both prior to and during the relevant period. This failure likely contributed to an environment that felt unsafe to detained people, as discussed, for example, in Chapter C.11 in Volume I. There appeared to be a sense of defeat from staff in how to address the spice problem, while the additional demands that drug use by detained people placed on staff likely impacted their morale and their attitudes to the people in their care.
  3. Mr Bole suggested that, after the Panorama programme in September 2017, there was an improvement in security, with increased searches and fewer drugs coming in.52 Mr Skitt told the Inquiry that various measures were taken that led to a notable reduction in drugs within Brook House by 2018.53By the time of HMIP’s 2019 inspection, a drug and alcohol strategy had been introduced and HMIP found improvements in reducing the supply of drugs into Brook House.54 HMIP’s report following a May–June 2022 inspection (after the conclusion of the Inquiry’s hearings) noted some misuse of drugs but no evidence of a high prevalence. It also noted that suitable measures were being taken to prevent supply, such as mail testing, and that “Very few detainees had seen any use of drugs or alcohol.55


  1. See Anton Bole 8 December 2021 128/15-131/4; HOM0331981_011 para 41[]
  2. CJS0074244[]
  3. D1851 3 December 2021 104/1-15[]
  4. DL000094_012 para 74[]
  5. DL0000232_020 paras 48-51; DL0000233_020 paras 92-96; BHM000039_010 para 49[]
  6. INQ000052_059 para 223; BBC000059_017-018; KENCOV1016 – V2017051300006; TRN0000095_009-017[]
  7. Shane Farrell 8 March 2022 85/15-18[]
  8. TRN0000069_007; KENCOV1036 – V2017061500014; KENCOV1036 – V2017061500015; KENCOV1036 – V2017061500016; TRN0000093_009-023; CJS0074268[]
  9. SXP000075_002[]
  10. CPS000025_032; TRN0000068_018; CJS005937_008; KENCOV1035 – V2017061400015;Day 8 PM 2 December 2021 00:49:20-00:53:53 (KENCOV1035 – V2017061400016); HOM001503; HOM005830; CJS0073011; TRN0000083_005[]
  11. Callum Tulley 1 December 2021 43/1-25; BBC000059_015; INQ000052_058-059 para 222; CJS005347; CJS001127; Day 8 PM 2 December 2021 00:33:00-00:49:02 (KENCOV1035 –  V2017061400015) and 00:49:20-00:53:53 (V2017061400016)[]
  12. Anton Bole 8 December 2021 133/23-136/10[]
  13. See, for example, Professor Mary Bosworth 29 March 2022 156/7-14; Ian Castle 15 March 2022 78/1-4; SER000455_012 para 42[]
  14. Professor Mary Bosworth 29 March 2022 9/13-20[]
  15. HMIP000613_027 para 1.46[]
  16. Darren Tomsett 7 March 2022 36/17-37/9; Luke Instone-Brewer 8 March 2022 16/23-24[]
  17. Darren Tomsett 7 March 2022 36/17-37/9[]
  18. TRN0000081_007[]
  19. Darren Tomsett 7 March 2022 36/7-16[]
  20. TRN0000083_006; TRN0000083_009; TRN0000083_011; CJS0074239[]
  21. CJS0074041_031 para 148[]
  22. Anton Bole 8 December 2021 128/18[]
  23. INN000007_017 para 73; INQ000027_019 para 76; see also CJS000714_014-015[]
  24. Luke Instone-Brewer 8 March 2022 73/19-24; Stephen Skitt 17 March 2022 73/11; Owen Syred 7 December 2021 68/12-73/20; CJS000917_002; FWT000001_014 para 77[]
  25. Anton Bole 8 December 2021 150/7-12; Aaron Stokes 9 March 2022 177/15[]
  26. Anton Bole 8 December 2021 152/7-20[]
  27. Daniel Lake 1 March 2022 20/6-24[]
  28. CJS000714_018[]
  29. CJS0074289_019-032[]
  30. Babatunde Fagbo 4 March 2022 85/2-20; Callum Tulley 1 December 2021 35/23-37/22; Ryan Bromley 7 March 2022 86/21-24; Shane Farrell 8 March 2022 86/20-23; Daniel Lake 1 March 2022 68/3-11; Stephen Loughton 1 March 2022 128/4-21; Shayne Munroe 4 March 2022 8/15-9/2; CJS0073679. On the other hand, Mr Owen Syred said that staff were subject to random searches (INN000007_017 para 73[]
  31. DPG000023_009 para 32[]
  32. DPG000040_017-018 paras 72-75; DPG000039_030-032 paras 116-120; DL0000231_039-040 paras 145-151[]
  33. Shayne Munroe 4 March 2022 9/17-10/13, 11/17-12/15[]
  34. CJS0073688_003-004[]
  35. INQ000172_004 para 10. Although not reported at the time, D687 told the Inquiry that he was told by two other detained people that Mr Instone-Brewer was bringing in drugs for them, in exchange for £500 (DPG000021_027-029 paras 86-89). D687 had previously made similar allegations about ‘Ginger’ in his interview with the Professional Standards Unit in January 2018 (HOM002453_038- 039; HOM002453_054-055[]
  36. CJS0073679_002[][]
  37. Luke Instone-Brewer 8 March 2022 48/10-65/13; Babatunde Fagbo 4 March 2022 84/1-86/2[]
  38. Babatunde Fagbo 4 March 2022 86/3-88/20[]
  39. Babatunde Fagbo 4 March 2022 86/15-87/3[]
  40. CJS0073809_004; see also CJS0073688_001-002[]
  41. CJS0073682[]
  42. Stephen Skitt 17 March 2022 75/6-76/8[]
  43. Stephen Skitt 17 March 2022 146/22-147/13; VER000256_021[]
  44. CJS0073688_004[]
  45. CJS0073688_004 []
  46. CJS0074041_031 para 150[]
  47. INQ000164_029 para 45[]
  48. INQ000164_001 para 2; INQ000164_049 para 90[]
  49. Shayne Munroe 4 March 2022 10/14-11/16[]
  50. CJS0074159, which referred to a detained person saying that a colleague could be bringing spice into Brook House[]
  51. As is shown by, among other things, attendance at and receipt of minutes of SMT meetings and security meetings (for example, CJS000536_002; CJS000575_002; CJS000911_001-002; CJS000917_002; CJS000915_003[]
  52. Anton Bole 8 December 2021 119/9-11, 152/12-20[]
  53. Stephen Skitt 17 March 2022 73/10-74/4[]
  54. HMIP000674_030 paras 1.52-1.54[]
  55. INQ000227_023 para 2.37; INQ000227_064 Appendix V[]