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Security firm suspends 9 staff members filmed 'abusing and assaulting' detention centre inmates

BBC Panorama captured footage of the staff members in question.

Image: PA Archive/PA Images

NINE MEMBERS OF staff at the security firm G4S have been suspended from an immigration removal centre near Gatwick Airport, following a BBC Panorama undercover investigation.

According to the BBC, the programme has footage recorded at Brook House showing officers “mocking, abusing and assaulting” people being helped there.

It says it has seen “widespread self-harm and attempted suicides” in the centre.

It added that drug use is “rife”.

Brook House is home to 508 men from Pakistan, Albania, Nigeria, Afghanistan and India.

It is one of 11 detention removal centres in England. Together, the centres took in 28,908 people last year.

The programme, which is set to air on Monday, contains footage it claims was recorded by a custody officer at the centre, which holds detainees who face deportation from the UK.

BBC Panorama says it saw “chaos, incompetence and abuse” at the centre, describing it as a “toxic mess”.

[image alt="Brook House Immigration Removal Centre" src="http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2017/09/brook-house-immigration-removal-centre-2-296x182.jpg" width="296" height="182" credit-source="Gareth%20Fuller" credit-via="PA%20Images" caption="Brook%20House%20detention%20centre" class="alignnone" /end]

In a statement today, G4S said it immediately commenced an investigation into the allegations, reported them to the relevant authorities and suspended the nine staff members in questions “as a precaution”.

A BBC correspondent said half of the people in Brook House are foreign nationals convicted of crimes and await deportation.

“Some of them aren’t just there for hours or days, some of them are there for weeks and months, so there is a huge amount of frustration being built up,” he said.

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Commenting on the allegations, Jerry Petherick, managing director for G4S custodial and detention services in the UK said:

“There is no place for the type of conduct described in the allegations anywhere in G4S.

“Such behaviour is not representative of the many G4S colleagues who do a great job, often in difficult and challenging circumstances, across the country.”

We have not yet been provided with the recorded evidence which forms the basis of the allegations and it is inappropriate to pre-judge the outcome of our investigation.

“Once we have seen the evidence and concluded the investigation, I will ensure that we take the appropriate action.”

Brook House is operated privately by G4S.

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