West Dunbartonshire Council’s G4S contract sparks law change call

Councillors are calling for a law change to allow them to refuse or terminate contracts when a firm violates human rights.

Dumbarton councillor George Black gained unanimous support for his call, sparked by West Dunbartonshire Council recently approving a £52,000-a-year contract extension with security firm G4S.001

The contract is for collecting cash from council premises and leisure facilities until May 2018 and calls were made for it to be rejected over claims the firm was involved in running the Israeli police and prison service.

G4S said the allegations were ‘groundless’ and that it had contracts with Israeli prisons but staff did not operate equipment or come into contact with prisoners. The firm said earlier this year the contracts would not be renewed when they end in the face of mounting global pressure.

A council spokeswoman said there was ‘no legal ground’ to exclude G4S from the procurement process.

The council will now ask the Scottish local authority umbrella body Cosla to lobby the Scottish and UK governments to change the law so councils can take in allegations that contractors have been breaching human rights, regardless of location, when deciding whether or not to award or renew contracts.

From- http://www.dumbartonreporter.co.uk/news/villages/articles/2015/11/05/546082-west-dunbartonshire-councils-g4s-contract-sparks-law-change-call/

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#corruption, #g4s

Jobcentre Plus- Corrupt?

A great program and guest explaining how jobseekers are used to make private companies profit and complaint procedures are bogus.

#dwp, #g4s, #jobcentre-plus, #profit, #serco, #work-program

JSUK Opinion- G4S- taxpayer scroungers

JSUK

Is there anything outsourcing giant G4S won’t turn their hands to?

They’ve got their sights  on opening more privately ran Childrens homes, they profit from you if you get arrested and sent to court and they want to run the police forces across the land.

This is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to G4S, an international outsourcing company that seems quite happy to profit from the taxpayer. They run work program  style schemes for the Jobcentre, which can range from six month community work placements to two year long courses that have been stated to be worse than doing nothing. They also fix up ambulances for the NHS and detain migrants overseas, leading to their deaths and reporting them as suicides. They do event security at Conservative conferences and bodge it up at the Olympics.

They get found guilty of overcharging for tagging offenders and even go so far as to beat someone to death with a fire extinguisher at a pop concert, not to mention killing immigrants by restraint as they board a flight.  One thing soon becomes apparent with G4S, they mess up time and time again and somehow keep winning contracts to run public services, profiting off taxpayers money and happily causing misery to thousands.

If I am late for even two minutes to a Jobcentre appointment I get my money stopped for 13 weeks, G4S can, it seems, bodge things up and continue as normal. The worst that happens is a contact gets revoked, they don’t have to pay anything, no one gets fired, no profits are lost. It’s like down at the Jobcentre, where they can harass and bully claimants, G4S are the untouchables, along with their brothers and sisters at Capita and Serco.

What makes G4S stand out however, is the fact they are always there for the government, like a dog poop on a shoe. Police cuts? G4S will run the force instead.

Privatized childrens homes? Yeah G4S will run those.

6 months workfare placements at JCP? Yeah, outsource those to G4S.

With the news this week that community support officers are to be given powers that enable them to arrest people for up to 30 minutes, how long before these powers become extended and G4S employees take their place? Everyone moans about the queen being a scrounger, the real scroungers are the companies making money off the taxpayer and not offering the services they promise, being unaccountable and laughing all the way to the bank.

#atos-2, #capita, #g4s, #maximus, #outsourcing, #serco, #work-program, #work-programme

Police warn big budget cuts will lead to ‘paramilitary’ force

Steve White, chair of the Police Federation, says service is ‘on its knees’, and predicts end of policing by consent and move towards more violent style.

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Police will be forced to adopt a “paramilitary” style of enforcement if the government inflicts big budget cuts on them, the head of the police officers’ organisation has warned.

Steve White, chair of the Police Federation, said his 123,000 members, from police constables to inspectors, fear a move towards a more violent style of policing as they try to keep law and order with even fewer officers than now.

White told the Guardian that more cuts would be devastating: “You get a style of policing where the first options are teargas, rubber bullets and water cannon, which are the last options in the UK.”

White said cuts would see the bedrock principle of British law enforcement, policing by consent, ripped apart.


Source- The Guardian


#cut, #cuts, #g4s, #police, #police-state

Women ‘treated like animals’ at Yarl’s Wood

NEWS that conditions at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre have “deteriorated” over the past year to the point where almost half of the women held there fear for their safety will come as no surprise to those who have followed the case.

According to a damning report published by the Chief Inspector of Prisons, some vulnerable female asylum-seekers detained at the Bedfordshire centre said staff treated them “like animals” and that their experiences had left them with anxiety, depression, disturbed sleep and mental health problems.

In one shocking case, a woman told staff that she had come to Britain after being raped at gunpoint by three men and was suffering from panic attacks, sleep loss and flashbacks. The Home Office responded by saying that rape “did not constitute torture” and that she should continue to be detained. In the 14 years since privately run Yarl’s Wood opened it has become synonymous with degrading and inhumane treatment of refugees and asylum-seekers whose only crime has been to flee persecution and attempt to build a better life in Britain.

Yarl’s Wood has been mired in controversy right from the start. Shortly after it opened a fire gutted the main building, shutting it down for months. The fire was the result of protests at racist abuse from staff. Four separate hunger strikes have begun and there have been hundreds of riots as a result of heavy-handed treatment by staff. The £85 million-per-year contract to run Yarl’s Wood has been passed on from private contractor to private contractor — five firms, including Global Solutions Ltd, Group 4, Englefield Capital, Serco and G4S have faced constant criticism from human rights campaigners.

Yarl’s Wood opened on November 19 2001 with capacity for just over 400 people, making it the largest immigration detention centre in Europe at the time. A September 2003 report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons found that provision at Yarl’s Wood was “not safe.” Twelve years later and nothing has changed. There have been a series of allegations of sexual abuse made against staff. The only witness to one alleged incident was deported before she could be interviewed by the police. Almost 90 per cent of people held at Yarl’s Wood are women, yet about half the staff are male.

The decision in November 2014 to give Serco a new £70m eight-year contract to run the centre was criticised by Natasha Walter of Women for Refugee Women: “Serco is clearly unfit to manage a centre where vulnerable women are held and it is unacceptable the government continues to entrust Serco with the safety of women who are survivors of sexual violence.” The following month, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria Vera Baird expressed her support for such an investigation.

In March 2004 the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman reported allegations of racism, abuse and violence based on 19 claims made by an undercover reporter for the Daily Mirror. The report found evidence of a number of racist incidents and that an allegation of assault had not been properly investigated. In September 2005 Manuel Bravo, an asylum-seeker from Angola, hanged himself while in detention awaiting deportation with his 13-year-old son following a dawn raid at his home in Leeds. In February 2006, the Chief Inspector of Prisons published an inquiry into the quality of healthcare at Yarl’s Wood. It found substantial gaps in provision and identified 134 recommendations.

A 2006 Legal Action for Women (LAW) investigation into the centre found that 70 per cent of women held there had reported rape, nearly half had been detained for over three months, 57 per cent had no legal representation and 20 per cent had lawyers who demanded payment in advance. Women reported sexual and racial intimidation by guards. LAW’s self-help guide has been confiscated by guards depriving detainees of information about their rights.

In April 2009 the Children’s Commissioner for England published a report which stated that children held in the detention centre are denied urgent medical treatment, handled violently and left at risk of serious harm. The report details how children are transported in caged vans and watched by opposite-sex staff as they dress. This followed earlier allegations in 2005 by the Chief Inspector of Prisons that children were being damaged by being held in the institution. In 2010, Children’s Commissioner for England Albert Aynsley-Green reported that children detained at Yarl’s Wood faced “extremely distressing” conditions and treatment. On January 11 2011, the High Court ruled that the continued detention of the children of failed asylum-seekers at Yarl’s Wood was unlawful.

In March 2014, 40-year-old Christine Case from Jamaica died at the centre from a massive pulmonary thromboembolism.

The family were not told of her death until eight hours later, and an investigation is underway into accusations that staff denied her medical assistance before her death.

In April 2015 a 33-year old detainee from India died of a suspected heart attack. In April 2014 UN special rapporteur on violence against women Rashida Manjoo was barred from Yarl’s Wood by the Home Office when she tried to investigate complaints about the centre as part of her fact-finding mission into violence against women in Britain.

The Chief Inspector of Prisons’s latest report said women should only be detained “as a last resort” and for the first time called on the government to introduce a strict limit on how long asylum-seekers can be locked up. The Inspector’s views echo that of a parliamentary inquiry earlier this year, which suggested a 28-day maximum limit on detention amid evidence that spending any longer locked up can be catastrophic for detainees’ health. Britain is the only country in the EU which has no limit on the length of time that asylum-seekers can be detained.

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Maurice Wren, chief executive of the Refugee Council, has called for Yarl’s Wood to be closed: “The fact that people fleeing war and persecution are being locked away indefinitely in a civilised country is an affront to the values of liberty and compassion that we proudly regard as the cornerstones of our democracy,” he said. Sonya Sceats, director of policy and advocacy at the charity Freedom from Torture, said the Chief Inspector’s latest report showed something was “really rotten in the immigration system” and called on the Home Office to accept that “asking for protection in the UK is not a crime.”


The above article is from Morning Star


#g4s, #immigration, #prision, #prisions, #yarls-wood

Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre ‘a national concern’, says prisons watchdog

A controversial immigration detention centre has been branded a “national concern”

in a scathing report by the prisons watchdog.

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Healthcare services at the understaffed Yarl’s Wood centre have declined “severely” and dozens of pregnant women have been held at the facility against government policy.

Other women were being detained for more than a year because of “unacceptable” delays in processing their cases.

Chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick said: “Yarl’s Wood is failing to meet the needs of the most vulnerable women held.”

The Bedfordshire centre held 354 detainees at the time of inspections in April and May, mainly women.

Home Office policy states pregnant women should not normally be detained, but 99 were held at Yarl’s Wood in 2014. Only nine were ultimately removed from the UK.

Some are being held for more than a year because of “unacceptable” delays in processing their cases. In one case a woman had been held for 17 months.

Maurice Wren, chief executive of Refugee Council, called for Yarl’s Wood to be closed.

He said: “The fact that people fleeing war and persecution are being locked away indefinitely in a civilised country is an affront to the values of liberty and compassion that we proudly regard as the cornerstones of our democracy.”

HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) found 45% of female detainees feel “unsafe” due to the uncertainty of their immigration status, poor healthcare and having too few visible staff.

Inspectors also revealed violent incidents have increased, with the number of reported assaults trebling in a year. In one incident, an officer repeatedly struck at least two women with his shield as staff attempted to remove a detainee.

There were also complaints about sexually inappropriate comments from staff, “sexual contact” and abuse, although no women said they were aware of staff being involved in any illegal activity of sexual abuse and HMIP found no evidence of widespread abuse.16696818_duncan_199953c

Mr Hardwick called for “decisive action” to ensure women are only detained as “a last resort”.

He said: “Yarl’s Wood is rightly a place of national concern. Other well-respected bodies have recently called for time limits on administrative detention, and the concerns we have identified provide strong support for these calls.”

In the previous six months, 894 women were released back into the community – more than double the number (443) who were removed from the UK.

The report said this “raises questions about the validity of their detention in the first place”.

There were some positive findings. HMIP said the facility was clean, most detainees said staff treated them with respect, while recreational facilities and access to the internet were good.

Serco, which has operated Yarl’s Wood since 2007, said it was “working very hard” to increase female staff numbers.

John Shaw, of G4S, which provides health services, said the firm is “reconfiguring” the service to address a “growing number of more complex medical requirements” at the centre.


The above article is quoted from ITV NEWS


#capita, #g4s, #nhs-2, #prision, #private, #privitisation, #protest, #protests

G4S wins Childrens home appeal

A decision by Councillors to refuse plans for a residential house to be changed into a children’s home has been overturned.

G4S Children’s Services had applied for a change of use for 34 Hatton Avenue in Wellingborough from a dwelling house to a children’s home.

#child-care, #childrens, #g4s, #home, #homeless, #homelessness, #private