Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/384/4829

From The Socialist newspaper, 12 March 2005

Review: Detention undercover

Ten police officers have been disciplined as a result of the BBC documentary The secret policeman which exposed racist views and practice by trainee police officers last year. In response to a similar programme last week, 15 members of staff have been suspended from front-line duties by Global Solutions Ltd, after they were captured on camera describing how to beat up detainees and racially abuse them without getting caught.

Naomi Byron

Two undercover reporters worked for three months as employees of Global Solutions Ltd (GSL), the PFI wing of Group 4. One worked as an officer in Oakington Reception Centre, where asylum-seekers are detained immediately while their applications are processed. The other was an escort, responsible for moving detainees around the country and ensuring they are 'removed' from the UK.

GSL receives millions from its government contracts to detain and remove people under the immigration laws, including asylum-seekers who have been refused and people who have overstayed their visas.

The programme was clear that many officers do their best to treat detainees humanely in difficult conditions. However, Detention Undercover exposed a minority of officers and escorts who racially abuse detainees, assault them and trump up accusations in order to put them in solitary confinement.

Bullies

One anonymous officer at Oakington said: "You haven't heard this from me but the guys in [the secure unit, which includes detainees on suicide watch], they're a bunch of fucking bullies - they shouldn't be in there... very right wing. They got put in there because they caused problems in Block 30 with various racial allegations."

There was at least as much racism and more violence in the escort services: "There's plenty goes on. We've had... to knock seven kinds of shit out of them.... you take a little bit of frustration out on them, but you be very careful, know what I mean? You can tweak the irons, you can give them a bit of pain... but on certain places, be very careful - when you've got immigration around you, or airline reps."

This documentary was an important exposŽ of the reality of New Labour's immigration policy on the ground. Sadly, it has received little coverage in the press.

GSL say they are "shocked" and "dismayed" and will make a full investigation. Yet it's hard to take them seriously when the "equal opportunities" training for escorts/officers shown on the programme is as inadequate as the training for police officers.

All they were told is that they mustn't be caught using racist language - nothing seems to be done to deal with the attitudes behind the language. As one of the officers who made racist comments said: "Well that's to cover their arse, isn't it."

Scapegoats

Dealing with racism and prejudice in immigration staff is bound to be difficult when the Home Secretary states publicly that he views some migrants as a "burden" on society who should be "driven out". It is the Home Office's own policies and language that have encouraged and legitimised these abuses.

New Labour consistently scapegoats asylum seekers for the disastrous destruction of public services caused by their own pro-big business policies, leading to prejudice and resentment amongst sections of the population.

Privatisation - one of New Labour's favourite policies - means that the contracts for immigration escorts and detention centres are cloaked in commercial secrecy and abuses can be blamed on the companies but quietly continued.

The Medical Foundation for Care of Victims of Torture reported a number of cases of unlawful force used during attempted removals (see the socialist issue 380), the Home Office agreed to install CCTV in all vans used to escort detainees to the airport. What they didn't say is that they only plan to do this when the current contracts for escort services run out.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 12 March 2005:

Pensions: 'We're fighting back'

NHS: 'Over performing' but under-funded

Oppose Clarke's terror bill

Review: Detention undercover

When is a cut not a cut?

The real cost of war and occupation

Crisis for republicans in Northern Ireland - political alternative needed

Germany: Challenges, dangers and opportunities

Lebanon: A new crisis in the Middle East?

Bush threatens women's rights

Brazil: A bloody week in the countryside


 

Home   |   The Socialist 12 March 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Detention:

triangleCovid outbreak at Kent asylum detention centre: Napier is not fit for purpose

triangleTears and anger over the treatment of the Windrush generation

triangleJoin the fight for refugee rights

triangleEU lets 200 refugees drown in three days

triangleRefugee suicide scandal

Immigration:

triangleProtest against immigration enforcement centre in Newham

triangleNews in brief

triangleImmigration: For a system that meets the needs of the majority, not a rich elite

triangleBirmingham SE Socialist Party: The history of immigration

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

24/2/21

Review

Film Review: The White Tiger

24/2/21

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

24/2/21

LGBT

Tories tout toilet tensions

24/2/21

LGBT

Pride flag is about unity in struggle

17/2/21

The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

17/2/21

Film

Film Review: Dear Comrades!

10/2/21

Socialist Party

Why I joined the Socialist Party - a student

10/2/21

Socialist Party

Why I joined the Socialist Party - a nurse

10/2/21

Labour

Starmer ditches Labour movement tradition for cheap trick

10/2/21

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

10/2/21

Africa

Book that inspired me: God's bits of wood

3/2/21

Hedge funds

GameStop: Billionaires hurt at their own game

3/2/21

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

27/1/21

TV

TV Review: It's a Sin

27/1/21

Disabled

TV review: The Hidden Story of Disabled Britain

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2021

January 2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999