After a documentary exposed racist abuse at an immigration jail (detention center? No, jail. Enough newspeak) because apparently the service’s own management and governement inspectors do not do their jobs, an official review was ordered and carried out by Focus Consultancy between 30 January 2007 and 9 March 2007. Focus Consultancy’s website is currently offline, (so erm I guess they are not putting all that public money into servers). Border and Immigration Agency Chief Executive Lin Homer is a NuLabour apparatchik failing upwards who escaped serious trouble in vote rigging scandals in Birmingham-
“The petitioners also accused the city’s returning officer and chief executive Lin Homer of failing to discharge her duties in accordance with electoral law. Judge Mawrey said that Ms Homer “threw the rule book out of the window” to deal with overwhelming numbers of postal vote application forms received.”
Homer says early trials of the e-borders programme mean the agency already captures between 22 and 24 million passenger movements electronically, which have generated about 12,000 alerts and 1,000 arrests.
And from the Times we learn -shock horror- she is trained in the law, oh you cheeky technocrats you- and sees what she does as a business. The banality etc. anyway onto the report, which is interesting in light of what I wrote yesterday (and I had no idea this was coming out) excerpts-
(PDF) When detainees were asked if there was a Race Relations Policy at the detention centre, awareness of there being such a document varied greatly, between 73% of respondents at Haslar IRC and Lindholme IRC knowing of its existence, 45% at Colnbrook IRC , 43% at Oakington IRC, 39% at Tinsley House IRC, to only 13% at Harmondsworth IRC. (The other detention centres scored 60% and above.)
All centres, except Harmondsworth, returned between 10-50% of the staff questionnaires that were sent to them prior to the inspection visit. Pressure of work notwithstanding, this fact was indicative of staff attitude towards race relations at Harmondsworth IRC, and highlighted potential difficulties for the successful implementation of the policy.
many of the detainees that were interviewed felt that formal complaints were “a waste of time” because “no action was ever taken.”
Training (specific and bespoke cultural communication, diversity and race) was not being renewed regularly, as per the UKIS Standards of annual refresher training.
Race equality and cultural awareness days for staff and detainees were lacking at some centres and there was no evidence that staff knew the legal definition of a racist incident as defined by the McPherson Report. (“A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person”.)
Privacy of the system varied greatly from having to ask officers for a complaints form at one centre, because they had previously been “wasted and used as scrap paper” and the forms being made available with privacy envelopes, in places which were outside of the CCTV system, such as laundry rooms at another centre.
Unfortunately, the majority of detainees had little faith in the RRC (race relations) meetings and did not believe that any change could take place as a result of attendance. They therefore saw verylittle point in coming forward.
Detainees had no confidence in the complaints procedure; they felt that they would be bullied by officers if they complained. They saw formal complaints as a means of ‘giving officers an excuse to bully!’ The problem was compounded by the fact that complaints boxes, including IMB boxes, were all within sight of patrolling officers.
Asked what could be done to a detainee to repatriate them one reply was-
“There are no limits it is our job to get them back to their country and that, at the end of the day, is what we have to achieve, whatever it takes.”
Or in one instance-
When asked: “What is the best way to treat a detainee?” – “You won’t go far wrong if you treat a detainee like a 5 year old.”
- One female officer at Colnbrook, near Heathrow airport, who taunted the detainees by saying “Animals, lock-up time,” also described immigration offenders and failed asylum seekers as “black bastards”.
- At Lindholme immigration removal centre in South Yorkshire, one member of staff described north African detainees as “donkeys”, accompanied by “full animal sounds”, the report said.
- At Harmondsworth immigration removal centre, also near Heathrow, the investigators found that in-house inquiry repeatedly missed alleged racism.
- There were even “staff on staff” problems at Harmondsworth, where an auditor overheard a senior officer tell an Asian colleague: “Talk proper, I can’t understand you.”
And at Yarl’s Wood in Bedfordshire, which was badly damaged by a fire shortly after its opening in 2002, the report recommended cultural awareness training for staff after a CCTV operator raised the alarm about a “riot” in the library which was, in fact, an enthusiastic game of checkers by Jamaican inmates. “Their loud speech and slamming of fists on the table had been interpreted as aggressive behaviour,” the report said.
The inspectors also found a “tense” atmosphere at Campsfield House in Oxfordshire, where a member of staff said: “If this was white British people in here we would be a lot stricter, it is because they are black people that we are afraid.” A member of staff at Yarl’s Wood told auditors that white detainees were treated with more discipline, but the presence of black people caused “paralysis and a softer approach”.
Jeebus! Racists, idiots, authoritarians. The service attracts them all and clearly they are setting up a system where complaints are stymied (the detainees are absolutely correct the complaints procedure is a waste of time, it is gamed to absolve the jailers and destroy complaints) and abuse runs rampant built around an iniquitous policy. I hate the phrase but the Border and Immigration Agency is not fit for the purpose, in fact for any purpose. It’s a real life Stanford prison experiment going on unseen and encouraged because awful politicians and awful media make these into unpeople, ‘illegals’. If this agency interacted with more favoured groups it would be a scandal, that there is not a huge furore over this migrant gulag is a thoroughly shameful expression of national bigoted cruelty.