A recent public enquiry has been hearing from a former officer at an immigration detention centre. A released undercover BBC Panorama expose shows a shocking culture of abuse by staff towards migrant detainees at Brook House immigration detention centre. The place had been run by G4S when whistle-blower, Callum Tulley, a former officer there reported widespread mistreatment of detainees.
Mr Tulley, who agreed to filming undercover after he reported what he had seen to the BBC, described witnessing a group of G4S staff taunting a naked detainee in his solitary confinement cell, as they attempted to move him to a van before a planned deportation. “They were laughing at him, making comments about his body, about his penis,” Mr Tulley said. “He was completely humiliated, just clearly distressed. It was shocking to see it.”
Tulley, who started work at the centre as an 18-year-old, heard staff boasting about putting on George Michael masks and dancing outside the cell of a prisoner on suicide watch, “to scare him or to freak him out”. Detainees would often be referred by some members of staff simply as “cunts”. “The word ‘banter’ would be used to justify such language,” Mr Tulley said, adding that staff would modify their language accordingly when prison monitors were visiting the centre.
A minority, but a significant minority, of staff working at Brook House immigration detention centre were involved in the abuse towards detainees while he was working there between 2015 and 2017. The rest of the staff turned a blind eye and “there was a culture of silence”. Mr Tulley said he had not known how to raise his concerns, because he had witnessed his supervisors behaving abusively towards detainees. “Managers were complicit in the abuse of detainees,” he said. Staff members who showed empathy for detainees were routinely mocked by their colleagues. There was a “hostility towards treating detainees kindly and with compassion”. G4S has since stopped running Brook House as well as Tinsley House, both of which are located next to Gatwick airport. The contracts were awarded to another outsourcing firm, Serco, in May 2020.
Perhaps this is something for those who have listened to the political lie-mongers to ponder on. Where here is the ‘jackpot’ of free and luxurious housing along with the pots of gold that we are often told immigrants have doled out to them upon arrival on these shores? Workers of whatever race, place of birth and colour are not our enemies, they are workers like us, and we must convince them to stand with us to destroy imperialism!