The Border & Immigration Agency Is Not Fit For The Purpose

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.”

She was upset Charles Clarke lost his job and in this dreadful fawning interview in the Grauniad she thinks the public sector isn’t ‘pacy enough’ and she loves big brother-

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.


    The news travelled fast between the racks of £1,000 Prada dresses and podiums loaded with Louis Vuitton handbags in the Manchester branch of Harvey Nichols. Word had come down from the players at Manchester United that it was time for a “harvest”. The best looking shop assistants were put on alert to expect an invite to one of the biggest football parties of the year. The same thing happened at Selfridges next door. They may never have met them, but for one night these young women stood a chance of swapping their lives as shop assistants to be the guests of champions, some of whom earn 400 times more than they do.

    One by one, the invites for the event came; sometimes directly from a player shopping after training, or from a friend deputised to handpick the most attractive young women to “decorate” their party. Such “harvests” are a part of a social scene involving footballers and would-be Wags (wives and girlfriends of footballers) which was thrust into a harsh spotlight this week after Jonny Evans, a United player, was accused of the rape of a 26-year-old at the club’s Christmas party. Evans, 19, was released on bail pending further questioning and has not been charged. He has denied the allegations.

    Manchester’s boutiques and department stores have emerged as that scene’s frontline and, according to the shopworkers, the reality of meetings with millionaire footballers can be far from a fairytale.

    Young women earning less than £6 an hour told how they feel degraded by the systematic approaches to the best-looking girls and how encounters with even the most famous footballers while at work were sometimes “obscene” and often left them feeling “disposable”.

    One boutique assistant told how two Premiership players tried to entice her back to their hotel to watch pornography. One senior player embarrassed her by parading in her shop wearing only his underpants. Another said she had been pestered by a footballer who refused to take no for an answer.

    Several shop assistants from the make-up and handbags section of Selfridges were invited to the United party on Monday night at the Great John Street boutique hotel in the city centre. It was also attended by models, including Louise Cliffe, the one-time Miss Manchester, and others who came from Leeds, Liverpool and London. Events that took place have been unravelled in all their uncomfortable detail in the tabloid press. Yesterday’s newspapers brought allegations that a drunk girl took part in an orgy with several men.

    The 15-hour party was closed to the players’ wives and girlfriends and was reportedly described as “very, very sleazy”. Another said girls were being passed around “like pieces of meat”. (via Rachel from North London)

    All that’s really missing is a large hollow brass bull with someone sealed inside then a fire lit underneath, their screams as they cook to death punctuate the orgy. When money and victory are all that matters this is a predictable cultural accompaniment. We have redefined torture (usually including rape) as interrogation, how much longer until rape is rebranded as sexual ‘cold calling’. The kind of thing go-getters do and anyway how can a millionaire ever rape anyone? They are a deity of capital, you should just be thankful their attention shined on you for the short time it did. A richer/more powerful caste abusing lower ones is widespread and ancient, the nuance here is the nature of this elite- born of natural athleticism and the ability to control a small inflated ball. But from the wage cap going to the stock flotations of clubs they are now machines of aggressive capital where talent can for the chosen unlock excessive riches and a self absorbed unencumbered entitlement of ego. In the past it was servants being preyed upon by their masters, a pity to see new generations so easily fitted into that pattern, a pattern capitalism most assuredly dictates; You can get it if you want it, drive, ambition, determination, go for it, don’t take ‘no’ for an answer… Now with a Nike swoosh.

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    Brown Rejects No 10 Website Petition For Public Inquiry Into 7/7 bombings

    Just got the email, yet another No. 10 petition ignored, clearly these things are designed to give the illusion of particpatory democracy, use up that energy, misdirect it and thus protect the unaccountable intentions of the establishment, here is what the official response says-

    Thank you for signing the e-petition about 7 July bombings.

    The Government understands the feelings of the survivors and relatives of those killed in the 7 July bombings. Our aim is to ensure that other families do not suffer the hurt, loss and pain caused by such attacks and that is why the protection of our people against future attack remains our top priority.

    The Government remains of the opinion that a public inquiry is not required into the events of the 7 July 2005. There are processes currently underway which will address many aspects of the 7 July attacks:

    Criminal proceedings in connection to the bombings have been brought and pursued. Three people have recently been charged with conspiracy to cause explosions and are currently awaiting trial. The police investigation into the 7 July 2005 bombings continues.
    The inquests into the deaths of all those who died have yet to take place. Proceedings stand adjourned because of the criminal proceedings outlined above.
    At the end of the Crevice trial in April 2007, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) were asked by the Prime Minister to re-appraise themselves of the information at their disposal – in particular, in relation to new information that emerged during the Crevice trial.
    It remains the case that there was no prior intelligence that an attack was to be carried out on 7 July 2005. I can reassure you that the Police and Security Service would have done everything possible to prevent such an attack had any such intelligence been available. As highlighted by the Crevice investigation, the threat we face is complex. The presence of Shehzad Tanweer and Mohammad Siddique Khan in the periphery of the investigation of 2004 shows the scale and complex nature of the real and serious threat we face.

    Well fuck you very much, not only do they deny an inquiry they use the refusal as a chance to peddle their misinformation. So let us now conclude:- bullshit rejection of a public inquiry has backfired. This only increases the calls for a public enquiry for accountability and for the government to admit their support of Bush’s murderous imperial adventurism put us in this danger. After that; remorse, apologies and making it right, a public enquiry is but one part of that. That would be for a government that was democratically accountable to us citizen’s, that it doesn’t happen tells you about the real dynamic of power that exists. And that’s a poisonous harvest to be sowing.

    Update: Davide Simonetti who proposed the petition has a full breakdown at The Nether World (he kindly put a link to me but this is not mere polite reciprocating, he knows his stuff) of the government’s response and picks it apart lie for lie, obfuscation for obfuscation. There is no good way of turning down an inquiry but of the many ways it could be done this burbling pol speak nonsense is by far the worse. NuLabour excel at this corporate bilge-speak, somehow the gravity of the issue does not impinge on them, shameless bullshitting shiny suited wankers. And all the way through, that popular corporate myth of good faith, as if everyone was trying to be the best public servant they could be, not the responsibility evading, warmongering, mendacious little careerist establishment toerags they actually are.