Immigrant detainees face ‘excessive force and abuse,’ says report

Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts three years ago

Immigrant detainees sent home from the UK are still facing “disproportionate force and restraint” and are subjected to offensive language from their escorts, according to a new report.

Despite the death of Jimmy Mubenga three years ago, when G4S security guards unlawfully killed the 46-year-old after forcefully restraining him prior to take-off on a British Airways flight to Angola, there are still “no recognised safe procedures” for using restraint on board aircraft, the document said.

Mr Mubenga’s death led to monitoring of overseas escorts returning detainees to Afghanistan, Ghana, Sri Lanka and Nigeria.

Subsequent findings by the UK National Preventive Mechanism unit, covering the period April 2012 to March 2013, raised concerns that people were facing abuse from officials in their own country following deportation.

“Concerns were raised that not enough was done to reduce stress for detainees, that there was disproportionate use of force and restraint, and examples of unprofessional behaviour by escorts who used very offensive language in front of detainees and others,” the report said.

“Concerns about detainees experiencing aggressive behaviour by home officials on arrival in their destination country, as well as the lack of information on their home country to help prepare for return, were also expressed.”

It added that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons “was also concerned that there were no recognised safe procedures for the use of restraint in the confined spaces of an aircraft”. The time taken between the detainee being discharged from the immigration removal centre and boarding their aircraft was also found to be “excessive”.

The report identified 19 cases where people were subject to “de facto detention” without proper legal authority – 16 of which occurred in a hospital or care home. Ten of them had either dementia or learning difficulties.

The authors said while considerable care was taken with some vulnerable detainees, an initial risk assessment was “lacking” and that “searching and handcuffing procedures were a matter of routine rather than related to risk”.

Colin Yeo, a barrister specialising in immigration law, wrote on the Free Movement blog: “Enforcing immigration control is an inherently brutal and inhumane process.

“The victims have been subjected to a campaign of dehumanisation by government and media. The people attracted to immigration enforcement work, or willing to do it, will always include some who will behave in an abusive manner.”

Rachel Robinson, director of policy for Liberty, said: “Jimmy Mubenga’s death should’ve been a sharp wake-up call on the dangerous tactics used – designed for restraining violent criminals, not for use by badly trained contractors on severely distressed deportees. Fundamental reform is vital to protect those trapped in the ugly underbelly of immigration control.”

However, the report did note a “reasonably well-run operation, with a lot of attention being paid to detainees and their concerns, by both the immigration team and the overseas escort contractor”. It added that: “On the whole, escort procedures were well organised and escorts dealt with detainees sensitively and effectively.”

However, it concluded that monitoring should continue “to ensure that they are being escorted safely and treated fairly under extremely difficult conditions, and ensure that recommendations are acted on”.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Detention and removal are essential elements of an effective immigration system. Detainees’ welfare is extremely important and we are committed to treating all those in our care with dignity and respect.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'