UK: BBC undercover investigation reveals abuses at G4S immigration removal centre; company suspends 9 staff

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Article
6 September 2017

Campaigners call for closing of immigration removal centre after G4S guards were filmed allegedly “choking”, mocking & abusing detainees

Author: Lizzie Dearden, Independent (UK)

... Activists have called a demonstration outside the Home Office on Wednesday, where they will highlight Mr Bigzad’s case, call for Brook House and all other immigration removal centres to be shut down, and for G4S to be stripped of its government contracts.

Organisers from the Kent Anti-Racism Network, Brighton Against Detention, SOAS Detainee Support and the Movement for Justice by Any Means Necessary are also hoping to highlight the “UK’s use of indefinite detention as an abuse of human rights”...

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Article
6 September 2017

Detainees 'mocked and abused' at immigration centre

Author: BBC

G4S has suspended nine members of staff from an immigration removal centre near Gatwick Airport, following a BBC Panorama undercover investigation. The programme says it has covert footage recorded at Brook House showing officers "mocking, abusing and assaulting" people being held there. It says it has seen "widespread self-harm and attempted suicides" in the centre, and that drug use is "rife".

G4S said it is aware of the claims and "immediately" began an investigation.The security firm said it had not been provided with recorded evidence, but added: "There is no place for the type of conduct described." Those suspended were one female nurse, six detention custody officers, and two managers, who were all male. Five other members of staff have also been placed on restrictive duties, the BBC understands. A former G4S officer, who now works for the Home Office, has also been suspended... G4S said the staff suspensions were a "precaution" but it reported the allegations to "the relevant authorities".

The chairwoman of the all party parliamentary group on refugees said the contract "should be suspended and reviewed".

A Home Office spokesman said: "We condemn any actions that put the safety or dignity of immigration removal centre detainees at risk...We are clear that all detainees should be treated with dignity and respect and we expect G4S to carry out a thorough investigation into these allegations and that all appropriate action be taken."

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Item
6 September 2017

G4S boss responds to staff abuse allegations

Author: BBC News

The managing director of G4S has responded to allegations that his staff abused people in an immigration removal centre at Gatwick Airport. 

G4S has suspended nine members of staff, following a BBC Panorama undercover investigation.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live's Emma Barnett, Jerry Petherick, managing director for G4S' custodial and detention services in the UK, said he will look at the current investigation to prevent future incidents.

[Radio interview]

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Article
6 September 2017

G4S bosses 'warned' of poor detention centre staff culture

Author: BBC

A top manager at security company G4S has said he warned his bosses three years ago about the "poor culture" at an immigration detention centre where 10 employees have now been suspended... G4S says it investigates all complaints and whistle-blowing rules are in place. Mr Ward quit the company in April 2014 because he felt his managers were not acting on his concerns and he "couldn't cope"...

Speaking to the BBC three years later, he said: "The vast majority were good, decent people - but there was a group that actually concerned me on their relationships with detainees. It was around language that they used, a sense of roughness and the use of force, how force was used."...

The programme was approached by a worker at the centre, 21-year-old Callum Tulley, who agreed to secretly film what happened during his shifts. The footage reveals suicide attempts, drug abuse and the results of violence inflicted by detainees on each other. However, it also shows G4S staff mocking, verbally abusing and even physically assaulting those in their care...

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Article
6 September 2017

Head of scandal-hit immigration centre ran jail where children were abused

Author: Eric Allison & Simon Hattenstone, Guardian (UK)

The director of an immigration removal centre where allegations of brutality and racism were exposed by the BBC’s Panorama programme had previously been in charge of a children’s prison where abuse was rife.

A Guardian investigation last year revealed that Ben Saunders, the director of Brook House immigration removal centre (IRC), which featured in Monday night’s programme, and Tinsley House IRC, where children are detained, ran Medway secure training centre when children were maltreated.

Like the two IRCs, Medway STC in Kent was then run by G4S, before it gave up its children’s services after abuse and alleged corruption were exposed by the Guardian investigation and another Panorama undercover operation.

Saunders left Medway to manage Brook House and Tinsley House for G4S in 2012, but returned briefly to take over Medway after its failings were exposed by the Panorama and Guardian investigations last year...

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