Inspectors report on Home Office flight removing immigration detainees to France and Germany

Please do Read the report: Germany and France escort and removalit is disturbing

2.10.2020: Extract: ‘Managers were expecting some resistance, because of their previous experience of detainees being reluctant to return to other European countries under the TCU arrangements. Several of those scheduled to be on the flight had been very distressed; the removal of most of those identified as at risk of suicide or self-harm was cancelled, but two who were at risk travelled, of whom one self harmed on the aircraft and the other was found during the journey to be secreting a fragment of sharp metal in his mouth. Two detainees had to be carried on to the aircraft and restraints were used on half the total number.

Handcuffs were fitted for short periods to the wrists of three detainees for the purpose of achieving compliance through inflicting pain. We did not directly observe the incidents and so cannot judge whether use of this technique was proportionate in the circumstances.’

[and … ‘

1.7 Waist restraint belts (WRBs) were used for half the detainees which, in each case that we observed, followed a refusal to comply or stated intention to do so. Handcuffs were used on four detainees. In three cases, they were fitted to inflict pain and secure compliance. In one case, records showed that the rigid-bar cuff had been placed on the wrist where the detainee had just made cuts; in another, a detainee had cuffs on both wrists, neither of them attached to an officer. We did not observe these incidents and cannot judge the operational requirement for these actions, but this technique should meet the criteria of proportionality and minimum necessary use of force and should be used as a last resort.

HM Inspectorate of Prisons has published a report on an inspection of the first immigration removal flight on which all detainees were being returned to other nations involuntarily since the suspension of such chartered flights at the beginning of the COVID-19 period.

The flight on 12 August 2020, from Stansted, took 14 immigration detainees to Frankfurt in Germany and Toulouse in France, under the Dublin Convention, to which the UK is a party.

Six detainees were Iranian, three were Sudanese, one was from South Sudan, two were from Iraq and one each was from Guinea Bissau and Afghanistan. The youngest was 19 years old and the oldest 43.

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