G4S guards accused of assaulting young offenders sacked by security company

Move comes after secret filming shows staff slapping boys in the head and using forbidden restraint tactics

Four G4S guards accused of assaulting teenage inmates of a young offenders’ unit have been sacked by the security company.

Its move came after secret filming showed staff slapping boys in the head, using forbidden restraint tactics and talking about falsifying records of violent incidents.

The behaviour was highlighted in a BBC Panorama investigation into the Medway Secure Training Centre in Rochester, Kent.

G4S already suspended seven staff two weeks ago ahead of the programme’s broadcast and apologised for the behaviour of its employees.

Labour has called for G4S to lose its contract to run young offenders institutions, while penal reformers have demanded the closure of the centre. A police investigation has been launched and the Youth Justice Board, which has said it is “shocked and very concerned” by the allegations, is reviewing the regimes of secure units run by G4S.

According to Panorama, a teenager was repeatedly hit around the head, guards pressed heavily on the necks of offenders and used unnecessary restraint techniques, including squeezing a teenager’s windpipe.

web-medway-G4S-2-pa.jpg

Police in Kent are also understood to have been alerted to the claims of 'unnecessary use of force and the use of improper language' at the centre (PA)

Staff were alleged to have tried to conceal their behaviour by hiding from CCTV cameras and to have doctored official records of violent incidents.

In a statement, the company said: “Four of the staff suspended on 30 December will have their employment with G4S terminated with immediate effect.

“Three other staff identified in the allegations will remain on suspension pending further investigation. One additional person has been removed from operational duty pending further investigation.”

The company has requested copies of all the evidence about the incidents from Panorama.

Paul Cook, managing director of G4S Children’s Services, said: “We are appalled by the behaviour of certain members of staff at Medway Secure Training Centre shown in the programme and I would like to apologise personally to any young people involved in these incidents.

“There is no place for the conduct shown in the programme within any of our Secure Training Centres and it will not be tolerated.”

The centre, which has been managed by G4S since it opened in 1998, is a 76-bed facility for young offenders aged from 12 to 18.