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New Restraint System for Immigration Removals

The UK Government has formally approved a new restraint system for managing people being escorted during deportation.

The new system implements all of the recommendations made by the Independent Advisory Panel for Non Compliance Management in its report (pdf) last month, which seeks to strike a balance between treating detainees with respect and minimising the need for restraint, while enforcing immigration law, which sometimes requires the use of physical intervention.

Key recommendations include:

  • extending the use of body-worn cameras to the escort process, including pre-boarding of a flight;
  • immigration removals contractors to be required to adopt a use of force minimisation strategy, to avoid the use of restraint, and where the application of force is deemed necessary, any such force to be reasonable and proportionate;
  • a governance structure for every incident in which force is used, including a review panel, involving operational managers of sufficient seniority to undertake a developed review of any incident in which there are questions about the circumstances in which force was used or the nature of the force employed;
  • a reformed framework for assessing detainee custody officer and escort staff competence, as well as the introduction of a requirement to pass a competence course;
  • independent monitoring of training delivery, both during the initial phase of re-training existing contractor staff and to ensure the quality of ongoing training.

Announcing the new system in a writtern statement laid in Parliament last week, Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire said:

“This fulfils a commitment by this government to provide training for escort staff that reflects the environment they work in, both in-country and overseas. The bespoke training is tailored to the experience and behaviour of detainees and staff in immigration removals and provides practical tools to de-escalate situations and minimise the use of restraint.”

The new training for overseas and in-country escort staff will begin later this month (28 July 2014).

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