Report: Escort and removal of detainees – by Charter Flight to Jamaica & Nigeria

HM Inspectorate of Prisons accompanied a removal by the UK of 35 detainees to Jamaica and 53 detainees to Lagos, as well as reviewing records of three previous removal flights to both countries. The aircraft were chartered by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and G4S were contracted to carry out the removals.

Inspectors were concerned to find that:

–  in some cases, staff were not properly coordinated during potential and actual incidents, which raised tensions;

–  force and restraints were sometimes used for longer than was necessary;

–  there is currently no accredited training to guide and support staff who have to use force in confined spaces, such as on an aircraft;

–  some staff used highly offensive and sometimes racist language between themselves;

–  swearing freely, telling offensive jokes and indulging in sweeping generalisations about national characteristics.

–  staff numbers seemed excessive at times;

–  in some cases, procedures were too risk-averse

–  Nigerian Charter Flight Specific:

–  On arrival in Lagos, Nigerian officials came onto the plane to complete admission procedures.Their attitude was forceful and aggressive – and included physical assault

–  detainees were not allowed hot drinks or blankets, unlike the escorts with whom they shared the transport.

–  Detainees had long waits on the coaches before being taken to the departure airport and then a long flight.

–  A man who could not walk was carried bodily to a van and to a toilet, with little regard for his dignity.

–  escorts sometimes spoke to detainees in patronising terms

–  As one detainee tried to explain he had spent most of his life in London, UK escorts mocked his accent.

–  there were no arrangements to provide any advice or support to detainees who did not have family or other contacts in Lagos.

Nick Hardwick said:  “Escorted removals are a difficult and distressing process. On these inspections, most escorts, most of the time, performed their duties well and dealt sensitively with the needs of individual detainees. However, tensions were sometimes raised when force or restraint was used unnecessarily and some staff demonstrated an unacceptably unprofessional attitude.

“The vulnerability of detainees during the process of removal is not to be taken so lightly, and the behaviour of all staff representing UK authorities should reflect better training and higher standards.

“Detainees arriving in the receiving country, sometimes with very few resources, faced hostility and had no advice or assistance.
UKBA should ensure that detainees without local support receive some assistance when they first arrive.

“It is a concern that we also need to call on UKBA to ensure that detainees are treated decently at all times, with no physical or verbal abuse, throughout their journey and when they arrive.”
HM Inspectorate of Prisons is an independent inspectorate, inspecting places of detention to report on conditions and treatment, and promote positive outcomes for those detained and the public.

The first inspection was carried out from 24-25 March 2011. Inspectors accompanied a charter flight removal of 35 detainees to Jamaica. They also reviewed records of the previous three charter flights to Jamaica. The entire removal process was inspected, from the point at which detainees were collected from immigration removal centres, to the end of the journey to the destination country.

The second inspection was carried out from 20-21 April 2011, when inspectors accompanied a charter flight removal of 53 detainees to Lagos, Nigeria. They also reviewed records of the previous three charter flights to Nigeria.
Charter flights to Nigeria, referred to as Operation Majestic.
Charter flights to Nigeria, referred to as Operation Waldrop.
Notional allocation for Operation Waldrop/ Majestic is 70 detainees and 140 staff
Charter flights were from Stansted, security checks were conducted at the Inflite Jet Centre, not the main terminal building.
The Inflite Executive Jet Centre at London Stansted Airport is a family run business that offers the ultimate ‘one stop shop’ for the Corporate and Business Aircraft Operator. It provides an extensive range of aircraft handling, engineering and support services all from its purpose built and newly refurbished premises. Located just five minutes from the M11 motorway, with ample secure parking using the Jet Centre is fast and convenient.
Our services are built on the combination of two essential factors, 30 years of experience and the pursuit of excellence in everything we do. We have achieved our success by total commitment to maintaining the quality of our highly skilled workforce and state of the art facilities.
* Family run business
* Five minutes from M11 motorway
* Secure parking facilities
* High quality bar and on site catering services
* In-house security screening
    * Approved customs immigration facility
End of Bulletin:
Source for this Message:
HM Inspectorate of Prisons