Two people have now been suspended from Yarl’s Wood and Serco, which runs the detention centre, is considering sanctions against more staff.
It comes after an undercover investigation by Channel 4 News revealed ‘racist, sexist and generally abusive and degrading language towards detainees’ by officers.
The immigration removal centre was discussed by MPs and Ministers in the House of Commons today (Tuesday) after being raised as an urgent question by MP Keith Vaz.
Shadow Health Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “It is an utter disgrace what has been happening. This is state sanctioned abuse of women on the Home Secretary’s watch and it need to end now.”
Home Office Minister Karen Bradley said the findings by C4 are ‘serious and deeply concerning’.
She said the director general of immigration enforcement has written to Serco and that they must act quickly and decisively to ‘eradicate the kind of attitudes that appear to have been displayed by their staff’.
“Be under no illusions, this government is breathing down the necks of Serco,” she said.
Mr Vaz called for Serco’s right to bid for other contracts with the government to be suspended pending the review.
He said: “This is appalling treatment that should not be tolerated by anybody, in particular the employees of a company in receipt of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.”
MP for North East Beds Alistair Burt called for an end to poor treatment and abuse of detainees. “What bothers me about this is we are here again. This is not new,” he said. “We should not meet here again and be doing this in the future.”
A cross-party report published today has recommended a review of immigration detention centres and a 28-day limit on the time that people can be held.
In the House of Commons today Miss Bradley said: “Detention is an important part of a firm but fair immigration system. It is right that those with no right to be in the UK are returned to their country if they will not leave voluntarily.”
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