LABOUR MPs gave bosses at hated security firm G4S a severe dressing down yesterday while grilling them about serious abuse at an immigration centre run by the company.
Jerry Petherick and Peter Neden were hauled in front of the Commons home affairs committee after BBC’s Panorama secretly filmed shocking incidents of abuse in Brook House, near Gatwick Airport.
Footage shows staff physically attacking detainees and mocking those who were receiving medical treatment after self-harming or taking drugs, such as synthetic cannabis “Spice.”
Committee member and Labour MP Naz Shah told G4S custodial and detention centres managing director Mr Petherick: “I’m surprised we have not seen a death on your watch.
“Whether that be by Spice, whether that is by abuse of staff, whether that be by strangulation, whether that be by cold-blooded murder by your staff.”
Mr Neden — G4S regional president for Britain and Ireland — said 10 staff members have since been suspended, of whom three have been sacked.
He continued: “I was ashamed of what I saw. I am very sorry for what we saw. If we were in any way aware of any of that behaviour we would have taken action.
“We are undertaking an immediate action plan to make sure that this can’t happen again.”
He was rebuked by Labour MP and committee chair Yvette Cooper, who said the incidents were “remarkably similar” to those previously recorded by Panorama at the G4S-run Medway young offenders unit, when the firm had promised action would be taken.
Mr Neden also denied reports by the Guardian that the firm makes profits of 20.7 per cent on its £11.2 million-a-year government contract for the centre while its contract stipulates a profit limit of 6.8 per cent.
He said the claims were “simply wrong” but refused to elaborate.
Ms Cooper said after that meeting that the managers’ answers were “not good enough.”
“They were unable to tell us what lessons were learned from similar problems in Medway. Nor could they tell us why management failed to identify these problems,” she said.
“We also heard disturbing allegations that G4S misled the Home Office to increase their profit, which we will pursue further.
“Clearly it would be completely unacceptable for a company to earn substantial profits from providing a service which has abused or harmed some of those in its custody.”