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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 March, 2005, 15:44 GMT
Detention centre inquiry ordered
Two inquiries have been launched into the allegations of racism
Allegations of racism and bullying at Oakington Immigration Reception Centre are to be investigated by the prisons and probation ombudsman.

Immigration minister Des Browne has asked the ombudsman, Stephen Shaw, to look into allegations made in the BBC documentary, Real Story, on Wednesday.

Mr Browne said he wanted to establish the truth as quickly as possible.

Global Solutions Ltd, the security firm who operate the Oakington centre, have mounted an internal investigation.

However, Mr Browne believed there should be a separate and independent investigation.

The ombudsman will also review the GSL investigation.

Undercover evidence

Mr Browne said he hoped the BBC would give the ombudsman full access to all the material gathered by the reporters who worked undercover for three months at the detention centre near Cambridge.

The Home Office has already asked to see the BBC's evidence of alleged racism and violence by security staff at the detention centre near Cambridge.

Mr Browne said he had always made it clear there was no place for racism anywhere in society and particularly within the immigration system.

He said it was vital that the detention and removal of asylum seekers and immigrants was done with humanity and dignity.

Fifteen staff working for GSL have been suspended from normal duties as a result of allegations.

The Real Story documentary was secretly filmed by the journalists working at Oakington and at an immigration centre near Heathrow Airport.

'Staff let down'

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

GSL said it did not tolerate racism or abuse and that it 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".

The Lib Dems urged a review into how firms such as GSL were vetted and monitored and the Tories called for an inquiry.


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



SEE ALSO:
Immigrant abuse claims examined
02 Mar 05 |  Real Story
Probe into immigrant abuse claims
01 Mar 05 |  Real Story


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