Yesterday, Leigh Day solicitors acting on behalf of Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) launched formal legal action against the UK government in an attempt to force it to designate security company G4S a ‘High Risk’ strategic supplier in the wake of a number of catastrophic failings.
These failings, many of which were highlighted in Panorama’s documentary last year, Undercover: Britain’s Immigration Secrets, included the maltreatment of detainees by staff, a widespread culture of disrespect and the falsification of incident reports in order to cover up poor conduct.
Panorama’s revelations about Brook House IRC are the latest in a long line of allegations involving G4S in the running of custodial facilities, including very similar allegations made against staff at Medway Secure Training Centre in January 2016.
We believe these failings must now be seen as systemic failings, not just one-off incidents. However, there appears to be no recognition of this at government level. Indeed, despite the revelations of the Panorama programme, the Government is seemingly poised to award G4S a renewed contract to run Brook House IRC.
G4S currently benefits from a number of multi-million pound contracts with the government, operating two immigration detention centres, five prisons and one secure training centre. As such, they are a ‘Strategic Supplier’ to the government
Under Government policy, a ‘Strategic Supplier’ can be designated ‘High Risk’ if there is evidence of repeated concerns regarding underperformance and mismanagement in the delivery of the services it is contracted to provide. However, the Cabinet Office refuses to confirm if G4S has been designated as ‘High Risk’ in line with that policy.
Time and time again G4S’s conduct in managing government contracts has been found wanting. We have seen evidence of serious maltreatment of detainees by staff at Brook House IRC and yet there is no acknowledgement of this by the government.
That people are subjected to immigration detention at all is abhorrent. That they are subjected to physical and verbal abuse while incarcerated is utterly unacceptable. It is time the government stopped rewarding a company with a record of failure and mistreatment with new contracts, and no increased scrutiny on their questionable practices.
We will be applying to the court for a protective costs order to limit the costs we may incur but we are raising money to offset these costs. If you can help us ensure that G4S is held accountable for its failings and to stop it trading on people’s misery, then please donate here:
Please also spread the word to all your contacts and networks, if you’re a Twitter user, post this tweet and help our campaign go viral. The more people we reach the more likely we are to reach our target.
Together we can hold G4S to account.