`No evidence to corroborate Louise Perrett claims’
28th July 2010: Less than six months after UK Border Agency’s former worker Louise Perrett claimed she saw absolutely horrific’ behaviour of immigration workers, investigation into the allegations have found “no evidence to corroborate her claims that there is a cultural problem within the asylum teams in Cardiff.
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’; and showed ‘general hostility’ when interviewing asylum seekers.
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.
The professional standards unit’s investigation into the allegations about her experiences working for the UK Border Agency has concluded: `The investigation found that all allegations are unsubstantiated except for the concerns about the toy monkey.
`The investigation found no evidence to corroborate Ms Perrett’s claims that there is a cultural problem within the asylum teams in Cardiff which allows bad behaviour or that staff have made the inappropriate comments as alleged. As such it was concluded that none of the staff subject to the investigation had committed any disciplinary offence.
`The report makes some criticism of the Asylum Team that held the ‘grant monkey’. Although it was concluded that Ms Perrett misinterpreted its significance it was accepted that her misconception of it could have been felt by others and as such it was unwelcome.
`The investigation established that the ‘grant monkey’ was not used as a badge of shame as alleged however it accepted that its subsequent removal from the office was correct’.
The investigations concluded: No further action needs to be taken in respect of this matter.
`There was a concern that the PCS union had circulated advice to their members not to cooperate with any requests from the PSU for information from staff outside of those directly invited to interviews. It was not possible to establish if this directly affected the investigation, or whether any individuals who choose not to come forward have been affected by this advice.
`There is a minor criticism in the handling of Ms Perrett’s concerns about the behaviour of staff which she has attempted to raise. As an agency member of staff she felt unable to raise her concerns through any formal process. Concerns that she raised informally were not documented which the report finds disappointing.
`Staff reported that they were aware of the procedures to follow should they have any concerns and were content that these would be listened to. However consideration should be given to further promotion in the Cardiff office of the procedures to follow and an environment where staff is comfortable raising concerns without fear of criticism from other staff.