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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 March 2005, 22:03 GMT
Probe into immigrant abuse claims
Jason Martin
Jason Martin, known as 'Wolfie' was filmed racially abusing immigrants
Fifteen staff have been suspended from front line duties at a company handling detainees in the immigration system over evidence of racism and violence.

The evidence was gathered by BBC undercover reporters against employees of Global Solutions Ltd.

GSL has launched an internal inquiry, saying it takes the allegations very seriously.

The Home Office has asked to see the evidence, contained in BBC One's Real Story on Wednesday.

Racial abuse

The BBC heard evidence of detainees being physically and racially abused while officers made sure violence was not captured on CCTV.

Individuals were also filmed boasting of the abuse and about sexual relations with detainees.

Detention and removal is an essential part of effective immigration controls, but it is vital that it is done with humanity and dignity
Immigration Minister Des Browne

A GSL employee at Oakington Immigration Reception Centre, Jason Martin was filmed while racially abusing an immigrant who refused to get out of bed.

"You think you're not going to do anything 'cos a white person tells you what to do. Well I'm afraid you're wrong.

"My great-grandfather shot your great-grandfather and nicked his f****** country off you for 200 years."

He then tips him out of bed.

The BBC's Simon Boazman said most of the officers he met at Oakington did try their best to treat the detainees with dignity and respect. But there were a significant minority who were racist.

Civil action

Another BBC researcher, Andy Pagnacco, worked for GSL at Heathrow on a contract to transport asylum seekers.

He filmed colleagues advising how to act if a detainee turned violent. "As long as you can't see any cameras, hit 'em".

GSL is currently facing a civil action from a Nigerian immigrant who claims he was assaulted by officers attempting to put him on a plane. He says he was so badly injured that officers had to return him to detention.

GSL has said it does not tolerate racism or abuse and would be reviewing its staff systems as well as investigating the instances highlighted by the programme.

It said the majority of staff were "ordinary decent people doing a difficult job and they are feeling badly let down by a minority."

Immigration Minister Des Browne said: "There is absolutely no place for racism anywhere in our society, and particularly within the immigration system.

"Detention and removal is an essential part of effective immigration controls, but it is vital that it is done with humanity and dignity, and I am committed to ensuring this is the case."

Detention Undercover - The Real Story: BBC ONE, Wednesday 2 March, 2005 at 2100 GMT.

BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch clips from the BBC's Real Story investigation



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