After the continuing saga of Jimmy Mubenga’s death and the UKBA’s subsequent moratorium on forced removals which followed it, has been announced that the Agency’s current contractor G4S will no longer be removing immigration detainees from the UK.
The private security firm G4S said that it was “extremely disappointed” for having lost a multimillion-pound government contract with the UKBA for forcibly deporting foreign nationals.
Instead, by “removing” G4S as its trusted accomplice, the government has opted to award the lucrative contract to a competitor firm called Reliance. The UKBA action has probably taken this step to mitigate its precarious position because of the negative press coverage which G4S has received in the wake of Jimmy Mubenga’s forced removal to Angola which resulted in his unexpected death.
From next year Reliance Security Task Management Limited, which is already deeply contractually involved with the Prison Service, will be in-charge of forced removals from the UK.
Strategic director for the criminality and detention group of the UKBA, David Wood, said that:
‘We can confirm that Reliance Secure Task Management Limited has won the tender to provide escort services both in-country and overseas on behalf of the UK Border Agency.
‘Throughout the comprehensive tendering process, which began in September 2009, Reliance has demonstrated an ability to provide excellent service and its bid offers the best value for money.
‘We want to thank all of the bidders in this tendering process, and G4S, which has provided this service over the past 5 years.’
The Agency reports that Reliance will begin its 4 year contract in May 2011. Meanwhile, the UKBA’s current contractors G4S will continue to manage escorts for the UK Border Agency until next year’s contractual changes are put into practice.
As stated above, G4S has said that it is “extremely disappointed” for losing the contract to forcibly remove foreign nationals from the UK. Yet for all practical purposes one can say that the quality of training of its personnel is not very high. On a recent visit to the Brook House IRC one of the people who I met who was practically in-charge of running that facility was a self confessed baggage handler from Gatwick who had been laid off because of the recession. And he did the new job with G4S as it was the “only job around”. Therefore, it is not really a surprise that the lack of training of the personnel in Brook House IRC was really appalling and certainly not fit for purpose.
Ludovic Paykong was a 26-year-old Cameroonian failed asylum seeker who was deported via Nairobi on 28 March. The Guardian, has reported ‘that his limbs were bound with belts and he was carried on to the aircraft “like a bundle of wood”‘.
Accordingly to Paykong’s witness statement as seen by the Guardian the Cameroonian national said that the guards “piled on top of me, twisting my head against the seat and used considerable force to shut my mouth to stop me from shouting and hold my head in place”.
“I couldn’t breathe properly, I felt as though I was suffocating and briefly lost consciousness and had to be revived by the doctor. After this violent restraint I was bleeding from the nose and mouth.”
Lets hope that the new contractor Reliance can do better than G4S.