Mirror: EXCLUSIVE: Horrific levels of violence and racism among immigration staff as suspensions double
Exclusive figures obtained by the Sunday Mirror have shown a sharp rise in the number of immigration staff who are being investigated, suspended and losing their jobs.
The number of immigration custody staff suspended last year doubled, an investigation by the Sunday Mirror and Liberty investigates has found.
One officer repeatedly kneed a detainee in the head and told a concerned colleague “there are no cameras”, according to a staff report.
Documents from disciplinary cases obtained by FOI reveal a sharp rise in the number of staff investigated over whether they were “fit and proper” to detain and deport migrants, including vulnerable asylum seekers.
They show 102 staff were suspended between January 2020 and mid-February 2023 – including 49 last year and seven in the first six weeks of 2023.
Almost half of the suspended staff then had their Home Office certification revoked (26) or resigned while under investigation (22).
Another 44 were reinstated – some on appeal and condition of being demoted – while eight were awaiting an outcome as of February this year.
Private firms running detention centres and escort services said deportations were paused during the pandemic, leading a rise in suspensions last year.
But campaigners said our investigation shows problems such as excessive force and racism may be “endemic” in the immigration removal estate, which the Government is set to drastically expand.
Fourteen Mitie staff were suspended last year after the Sunday Mirror exposed racist messages in a private WhatsApp group. Mitie deploys guards to escort people during their deportation from the UK.