Asylum seekers have been warned by private security company G4S to behave in their accommodation or risk being “detained and deported”, in what lawyers have said is a misrepresentation of the company’s powers and a potential breach of their duty of care. A letter from G4S warns that people living in asylum-seeker housing managed by the company may be detained and deported away from the UK if they show unacceptable behaviour while residing in the accommodation.
Lawyers have criticised the company for over-stating their powers, describing the letter as even worse than the security company s widely criticised move to paint the doors of asylum housing in Middlesbrough red last year. The letter, which is dated November 2016 but was only brought to the attention of an individual case worker last month, begins by thanking the majority of tenants who respect G4S staff, then goes on to state: There are, however, a few who do not respect the officers allocated to look after them.
It reports a brutal and cowardly attack by an asylum tenant on a G4S officer in Birmingham, which resulted in the officer being hospitalised and the asylum seeker being arrested and forcibly deported back to his country of origin . G4S then warns that tenants who are abusive and aggressive will not be tolerated and will be reported to the Police and may be deported away from the UK . It states: Your accommodation, utilities, welfare and all support is provided at no charge to you by the UK Government. But those who are abusive and aggressive will not be tolerated and will be reported to the Police and may be deported away from the UK.
It is against the law in the UK to physically or verbally attack anyone, including one of your housemates or a Welfare Officer. Unacceptable behaviour is always reported to the Police and Home Office and kept on their records while your application is being considered.
Those who threaten or attack (with words of actions) may be detained and deported away from the UK.
When contacted about the letter, G4S conceded that the language used in the letter is emotive and imprecise and that future communications with asylum seekers will be expressed more clearly adding that the number of asylum seekers who are violent or abusive was small . Frances Webber, retired immigration barrister and vice-chair of the Institute of Race Relations, told The Independent G4S had breached their duty of care towards asylum seekers under their charge by issuing such a threat, warning that it could have “horrendous consequences” on vulnerable people’s wellbeing.
G4S hasn t been given the job of deciding who gets deported. It s a terrible threat. A lot of asylum seekers who have killed themselves in recent years are those who have been threatened with deportation. It has horrendous consequences, and you can see these security employees of G4S don’t have a clue, uttering such threats,” said Ms Webber.
It s in breach of the common law duty of care, which they have as owners of managers of asylum property. It s definitely in breach of a duty of care that they would have to the people in the charge and in their care.
They are perfectly entitled, as would anybody running asylum property, to say if you break the rules or if you commit a criminal offence, you will be reported to the police. What they re not entitled to do is to go on and say you might be deported. That s absolutely, completely out of order.
Using the word deportation is emotive. It causes huge anxiety unnecessarily and improperly, and if somebody in receipt of that self-harmed, I would imagine that they would be liable. If I was advising somebody as a lawyer who was adversely affected by a notice like that, then I would say there is a common law duty of care in that situation, which they are in breach of.”
Ms Webber went on to say the threats were even worse than the scandal when the company painted the doors of asylum seeker housing red, because it was the potential harm was more direct .
They are behaving like security guards, and if they want to branch out into this care provision, which they have begun to do, they need to recognise that that is a different role. It s not supposed to be penal, she said.
This is similar to the case where G4S painted asylum seekers doors red, but it s even worse in a way because it s more direct. It s very direct harm. Immigration lawyers from the firm Duncan Lewis, meanwhile, said they were “very concerned” by the the threats, saying it was “entirely wrong” to issue such warnings based on the actions of one individual and accusing the company of “misrepresenting their powers”.
Jamie Bell, of the public law department at Duncan Lewis, said: “G4S do not have the right to recommend deportation and have no involvement in the immigration cases of anyone who lives in their properties. It is a misrepresentation of their powers.
“It is entirely wrong for G4S to threaten innocent people with deportation based on the actions of one individual. Individuals who are being provided accommodation by G4S are often extremely vulnerable individuals who have undergone harrowing incidents in their home countries, causing them to flee and seek refuge in United Kingdom. Making empty threats like these can be potentially psychologically damaging to those who have acute fear of return.
“This recent news comes within a continued climate of ill-treatment towards refugees by the Home Office including recent instances of deaths in Immigration Removal Centres, the lengthy detention of vulnerable individuals and the treatment of those subjected to forced removal. We would urge the Home Office to treat these men and women with the respect that they deserve.”
John Grayson, the independent case worker who discovered the letter pinned on a notice board at an asylum seeker house in Sheffield before writing about it on the openDemocracy website, described the letter as “brutal”.
I see loads of notices up in the G4S houses, but this one was particularly brutal. It was stark and brutal. The threat to actually deport people without any question of the criminal justice system,” said Mr Grayson.
“If someone assaults a G4S officer, they might have to go to prison, but that s a decision for the independent judiciary and should not affect their immigration status, nor should it be decided by G4S telling the Home Office to send them down and then deport them.
For years I ve denied the idea that G4S collaborates or actively supports this deportation without any kind of recourse to the legal processes. But this letter effectively says they do. It s very much part of the hostile environment in the UK asylum system.”
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When asked about the letter, a G4S spokesman said: We acknowledge that the language used in this letter was unhelpful and imprecise, however it followed a serious attack on one of our welfare officers that left them badly injured and fearful of returning to work.
“Our teams have no influence on the course of an asylum seeker’s application and will ensure our future communications are clearer. We have a responsibility to remind the small number of asylum seekers who are violent or abusive that their conduct will be referred to the Home Office and the police.
“This fulfils our duty of care to the safety of our colleagues and we also believe that it is what the public would expect.”
We are now about 100 days into the Trump presidency. I think it is safe to say about half the country is happy with who won the election and the other half is not. I think it is also safe to say that this country remains divided, thanks to the overwhelming force of the two major political parties and the incomprehensible nature in which way we the people have succumbed to that force. What do I mean by that? Parties by their very existence are dividers. At the top level, they try to grow their party by berating the other, trying with all their power and money to get us to fall into one warring camp or the other, pitting one group against the other. They do this so they can march into the camp every two or four years and claim their spoils, which are, of course, votes, ensuring themselves another term in office; wonderful for them, does little for the people, let alone for the country. The win at all costs go far beyond the insane money involved. They try even more dividing tactics, pitting the rich against the poor, men against women, race against race, young against old. You think this is not so? You only have to look at the coverage of each election, spending millions of dollars on polling data. This candidate leads with women, this one leads with minorities, this one leads with young voters and so on and so on, and by the time the election is over, not only have we not come together as a nation, we have been divided to the point of hatred. How can this possibly be healthy for a nation that basically wants the same things, but our elected officials have cornered themselves into such a tiny little partisan box, they are unable to work with the other side.
Isn t this what we have seen for nearly 20 years? The Democrats doing whatever they could to regain the White House under the Bush administration, and the Republicans doing whatever they could to regain it during the Obama terms. Nether party willing to work together to solve the major issues of our time. Now, after the first 100 days of the Trump administration, we see the exact same battle lines being drawn. It looks like the next four years will be filled with party politics and the American people will again be in the back seat of the theater watching this horror film go on and on. It wasn t Bush s fault, not Obama s nor Trump s. The fault is squarely on the shoulders of Congress. They play party games instead of working together to move our country forward. It is clear the Halls of Congress are soundproof as the screaming-loud message of this election has fallen on deaf ears. Then, we have Nebraska. What a unique and successful way to govern. We have the nation s only one-house state legislature. Candidates for state senator run without a party affiliation. We have term limits to reduce cronyism and a referendum system that allows enough like-minded citizens to get constitutional issues on our ballots. This non-partisan-one-house legislature was the result of the tenacity of Sen. George Norris, who after serving several terms in the United States Senate as a Republican, left the party in 1936 and ran, and won as an Independent. You see, George believed in the people more than the party. He knew we could govern ourselves, even saying, To get good government and to retain it, it is necessary that a liberty-loving, educated, intelligent people should be ever watchful, to carefully guard and protect their rights and liberties.
Norris was right then, and his words still hold meaning today. We must all take an active part in being the watchdog of our elected officials. But if George Norris could see what is going on in Lincoln these days, he would roll over in his grave. Once again there is a bill that would force Nebraska s electoral college votes for president to cast all votes for winner-take-all. Currently, there only two states who have it right when casting their electoral college votes, Maine and Nebraska, which allows the votes to be split more in line with the way we actually voted. The other 48 states have it wrong. LB 25, introduced by Sen. Murante, wants Nebraska to further enhance the power of the political parties, and nullify thousands of Nebraskans presidential vote by going to the winner-take-all model. This is bad for the voters and good for the parties, exactly the opposite of what good Nebraska political values remain. Folks, it doesn t end there. LB 644, introduced by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs committee, which Murante is a member of, want to change the nominating committees for our open judge seats. They want to add language to existing law that says, All citizen members shall be affiliated with the political party with which the Governor is affiliated. And they want to delete language that says the governor shall appoint two alternate citizen members not of the same political party. In other words, put party above wisdom and experience in determining who our judges will be.
Folks, is it safe to say that we want basically the same things from our governments? We want security, we want good education, fair and equitable taxes, affordable access to health care, good roads, and the list could go on. And in addition we want those we elected to go to work for us, not their party, not lobbyists, not the campaign donors, not the next election cycle, but to go to work for us! And what that means is working across political and idealogical lines, finding the common ground to responsibly take care of the peoples business, not the party business.
How do we get that message to them? The message that George Norris knew worked so well. Put people above party. I don t know why, other than selfish gain, this won t resonate with our elected state and federal politicians. Do you? I would like to hear your take.
The 50-year-old woman, who was allegedly attacked by a security guard in a posh colony in Mumbai s Andheri area, is out of danger, police said on Saturday. The woman was stabbed twice in her stomach by the guard in her flat in Four Bungalows area. She was taken to Cooper Hospital where she was operated upon on Thursday.
The doctors have informed us that she is out of danger. But she will be kept there till she recovers completely, a woman police officer, who is investigating the case, said. After a medical test was conducted on the women, doctors suggested prima facie it looked like there was an attempt to rape her but added that the final report is awaited.
Raja Shebu, who is in his 20s and was employed as a temporary watchman at the building in absence of the regular guard, went to the woman s flat with a cable operator around 5pm on Thursday. After the operator left, he demanded the woman to give him her phone number and started touching her inappropriately. As the woman pushed him away and screamed, he slapped and punched her and even tore her clothes. She, however, continued to scream after which he picked up a knife and stabbed her twice in her stomach. The woman s 85-year-old mother, who is a paralysis patient, was in the house at the time of the attack. She, too, raised an alarm and Shebu tried to strangle her as well. Their relatives, who own the other flats on the floor, came rushing on hearing their screams. One of the elderly relatives even caught Shebu but he assaulted the man and escaped. They then chased the guard and also alerted the police. Shebu was finally caught by a mob that thrashed him and handed him over to the police.
Police said they recovered the blood-stained kitchen knife that was used by Shebu to stab the woman. They have also collected the blood-soaked clothes of Shebu and as well as that of the woman. His mobile phone has been seized as well. They will be sent to Kalina Forensic Laboratory to glean evidence, they added. Shebu was also taken for a medical test. Police are also trying to find close circuit television cameras in the vicinity to gather evidence as the building has no CCTVs. They, however, said they have ample evidence, several witnesses and eyewitnesses to pin Shebu s role in the crime.
The police said they will soon record the statements of the relatives and few men, who chased Shebu and helped them nab him. The woman s mother will be made an eyewitness in the case, they added.
He is from West Bengal. He was a temporary watchman as their watchman had gone to (his) village. But, we will find out if he has more crime against women cases on him which will make our case stronger, the officer investigating the case said when asked if Shebu has a prior criminal record.
Police are also checking his background and whether he worked anywhere else in the city.