Failed asylum seekers ‘bullied’ out of Britain

By staff

Security staff tasked with removing illegal immigrants from Britain have been criticised as “intimidating” by the chief inspector of prisons.

A report published by Anne Owers today attacked their counterproductive behaviour at Heathrow Airport.

In one case four Afghans who were prepared to fly home received intimidating treatment by officials who told them not to be “naughty” on the plane. The Afghans responded by changing their minds and refusing to cooperate.

“This short report found worrying gaps and weaknesses in complaints and monitoring processes,” Dame Anne said.

“It also found varying practice, with no evidence that the good and thoughtful approach of some staff was mirrored in clear and consistent standards of treatment, support and communication. This heightened the risk of ill-treatment or abuse, and was also likely to lead to failed removals.”

In one instance two officials were arrested and detained in Mozambique as they escorted a woman being deported from Britain.

Problems arose when they refused to pay a bribe when doubt was cast on the validity of the woman’s passport and other documentation, it was reported.

“Detainee escorts have a very difficult job to do in carrying out what the public expects of the UK Border Agency in enforcing our immigration laws,” David Wood of the UK Border Agency said.

He insisted the government expected high standards from security staff, whether directly employed or as contractors.