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
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living