Out soon, a report on use of force by immigration officers, private guards

Government already facing allegations of abuse of asylum seekers

8th March 2010
: Less than a week after UK Border Agency’s former worker Louise Perrett claimed immigration workers showed ‘general hostility’ while interviewing asylum seekers, a report is expected to make recommendations on use of force by immigration officers and private security guards.

Scheduled to be published next week, it comes at a time when the Government is otherwise also facing criticism over allegations of abuse of asylum seekers by British guards during their detention and removal from this country.

Former Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland Dame Nuala O’Loan’s report, Outsourcing Abuse, comes after investigating allegations of mistreatment reported in the media more than two years ago.

The detailed report in July 2008 had revealed nearly 300 cases of alleged physical assault and racial abuse in a four-year period.

Dame Nuala is expected to report on failures in the system that allows private security guards to use “reasonable force" while restraining asylum-seekers.

The allegations leveled by Perrett are now being investigated by an independent body, agency chief executive Lin Homer only recently said.

Perrett, 29, had worked at the Cardiff office for three-and-a-half months last summer. She told the House of Commons home affairs select committee that the younger staff at the UKBA’s Cardiff office were ‘gung-ho and rude’.

Quoting an example, she said one of the staff, after being told that an applicant had come from Congo, sang: ‘Um Bongo, Um Bongo, they kill them in the Congo.’

Perrett added young men or children claiming to be former child soldiers were made them lie on the floor by a worker and were asked demonstrate how they would shoot someone. If they didn’t do it immediately or there was some hesitation, they would be refused.

Labour MP-cum-chairman of the select committee Keith Vaz has called for an inquiry into the allegations.

Strike results in closure of nationality contact centre, asylum support contact centre

PCS strike: Service disruption possible at some immigration reporting centres