Parliamentary committee probe sought into force used in deportation

Demand after `whistleblowers’ claimed concerns over restraint techniques were ignored

18th February 2011: The authors of "Outsourcing Abuse: The use and misuse of state-sanctioned force during the detention and removal of asylum seekers” have asked for a probe by a parliamentary committee into the use of force in the deportation process.

arrest1.pngThe authors —Coordinator of Medical Justice Emma Ginn, Clinical Advisor to Medical Justice Dr Frank Arnold and Birnberg Peirce & Partners Solicitors Harriet Wistrich — have also demanded placing under suspension the use of force.

The assertion came soon after `whistleblowers’ in a dossier claimed concerns over restraint techniques used by the staff G4S, the private company contracted to carry out forced deportations, were taken no notice of for years.

The authors asserted that though the Guardian reported that the staff warned management of inappropriate use of force, a top G4S manager claimed he was not aware of any staff concerns after death of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan on a British Airways flight from Heathrow in October last year.

They said the UK Border Agency was aware of allegations of excess violence and abuse by escorts through their own complaints procedure and legal challenges by deportees. In fact, the Home Office’s own Complaints Audit Committee reported ‘endemic and enlarging problems’ in misconduct investigations.

It reported that 79 per cent of serious misconduct complainants were not interviewed, and 65 per cent of responses to them were not defensible.

The authors said the doctors associated with Medical Justice have examined dozens of detainees suffering from injuries consistent with restricted breathing during failed deportation attempts.

As many as 42 cases in Outsourcing Abuse included restriction of detainees’ breathing. Nothing less than 18 of these detainees were identified in the report and data from all forty-two cases contributed to the findings.
`The whistleblowers’ evidence should trigger a further review of some of the complaints in our dossier.

`A parliamentary committee should conduct an inquiry into the use of force in the deportation process. As there is no evidence that UKBA have made any meaningful changes towards avoiding another death the use of force should be suspended meanwhile’, they said in an article carried by the Institute of Race Relations.


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