Britain’s Interior Ministry said on Wednesday that it will probe asylum-seeker housing in northeast England over complaints about the properties’ red doors identifying them as abuse targets.
The announcement followed an investigation by the “Times” newspaper into properties run by Jomast, a subcontractor for security giant G4S, which provides asylum accommodation in the northeastern town of Middlesbrough.
Local asylum seekers told the Times that they had been verbally abused and had their properties vandalized and targeted by eggs and stones.
“When people see the red doors, everyone knows it means asylum seekers,” said one man whose house was vandalized.
“I am deeply concerned by this issue and I have commissioned Home Office officials to conduct an urgent audit of asylum seeker housing in the north-east,” said Immigration Minister James Brokenshire.
“I condemn absolutely any actions that sow divisions within communities. We have been in contact with the local police, and they are actively considering any appropriate steps,” he added.
The properties investigated by the newspaper are owned by Stuart Monk, whose company Jomast, a subcontractor for G4S, holds the asylum contract for the north-east. Jomast and G4S, which have a contractual duty to “recognize that the safety and security of asylum seekers who must not be jeopardized”, have denied that asylum seekers are singled out by a “red doors policy”.
In a statement G4S said: “In light of the concerns raised, Jomast has agreed to address the issue by repainting front doors in the area so that there is no predominant color.”