Barnardos 7 Red Lines:
1. Barnardo’s will speak out about any concerns it has with regards the new immigration process for families.
2. In order for the government to be held accountable to its commitment to end child detention, we insist that it must release figures each year on the number of families returned – be that through voluntary, assisted, required or enforced return. Barnardo’s will withdraw its services if after a year more than 10% of these families are accommodated and returned through the PDA. As the process is new, we appreciate that it may take time to embed, and so this measure will be introduced after August 2012 – however we would expect to see this figure fall significantly over time.
3. Barnardo’s will speak out when any family has stayed at the PDA more than once, or for longer than the one week maximum, due to UKBA procedural error. If this occurs more than twice then Barnardo’s will withdraw its services.
4. Barnardo’s will withdraw services if Tinsley House is used as an overflow for families if the PDA is full.
5. Barnardo’s will speak out if the level of force used with a family on route to or from the PDA is disproportionate to the family circumstance.
6. Should Barnardo’s report concerns around any member of staff’s behaviour towards families and children, we would expect there to be an immediate review of personnel at the PDA. If the concerns are of a serious nature Barnardo’s will speak out immediately. Furthermore, if our concerns go unaddressed, Barnardo’s will withdraw our services from the PDA.
7. Barnardo’s insists that a hardship fund is established so that Barnardo’s staff can help families with immediate costs incurred on return to their countries.
This all sound well and good but what reassurances can Barnardos give anyone about what internal systems are in place to monitor any crossing of these red lines? What accountable external monitoring is in place also for contraventions of these policy within Cedars, in transit to and from Cedars, and also throughout asylum seeker or migrants case histories?
There press release from April 2012 when it was found that Reliance removal team has used 'inappropriate force' is particularly weak if they are to stand by their red lines:
'An investigation by the UKBA’s Professional Standards Unit into allegations surrounding the actions of the Reliance removal team has found that inappropriate force had been used in regards to a particular individual after their departure from Cedars. We have raised our concerns about this directly with the Minister and have asked them to ensure that Reliance addressed their member of staff’s conduct and that Reliance’s procedures are tightened so that this type of incident does not occur again.”
Here are some news stories from the Cedars over the last year:
Oct 2012: G4S used force on pregnant woman at Cedars centre
Report on an announced inspection of Cedars Pre-Departure Accommodation 30 April – 25 May 2012 by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons:
'Force had been used in relation to six of the 39 families held since the centre
opened, with handcuffs used on adults on five occasions. On two occasions minimal force that involved staff taking hold of elbows and escorting had been used to cajole children to the departures area. If the children had been more resistant, the situation might have escalated, raising the risk of injury. Children had become very distressed during forced removals and it was not possible to measure the psychological impact of removal on them. This was despite their needs being anticipated and actively managed by Barnardo’s staff.
On two other occasions similar force had been used to take mothers to departures.
Full control and restraint had been used with two men and once with a woman. In
each case seen there had been significant attempts at de-escalation, and force was nearly always minimal and defensible given the instruction to effect removal. The paperwork was completed thoroughly with clear descriptions of what had happened. Recordings of planned use of force showed generally appropriate management of difficult situations, with some very good examples of care shown by staff. However, camerawork was poor in some cases, with the situation not shown clearly, and in two cases the recording did not start from the point that force was first applied, when the situation was at its most tense.
Substantial force had been used in one case to take a pregnant woman resisting
removal to departures. The woman was not moved using approved techniques. She was placed in a wheelchair to assist her to the departures area. When she resisted, it was tipped-up with staff holding her feet. At one point she slipped down from the chair and the risk of injury to the unborn child was significant. There is no safe way to use force against a pregnant woman, and to initiate it for the purpose of removal is to take an unacceptable risk.
Oct 2012: Saleh's family’s ordeal continued in the UK:
"Mrs Saleh was found yesterday by her son after having slit her wrist in the (Cedars) detention centre where she had been awaiting the chartered flight that had been booked to fly her and her two children back to Egypt. On the wall, Fariman had written in her own blood: “I only wanted to save my children”. An act of desperation to call upon the authorities to reflect on the gravity and impact of their actions."
You can ask Barnardos these question here:
Barnardos National Press Office: Head of News (national enquiries):
Rebecca Goding (Mon-Weds) or Ruma Curtis (Weds-Fri)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Media Manager (regional): Paul Ilett
Jobs going there too if you'd like to afford some dignity to some desparate people by throwing them out of the country by force and their children too.