Labour’s Slaughter demands all G4S facilities be urgently monitored
ALL G4S facilities must be urgently monitored, Labour demanded yesterday after the head of a youth detention centre run by the disgraced firm stood down amid allegations of staff abuse.
Medway Secure Training Centre (STC) boss Ralph Marchant announced he was stepping down following allegations of abuse and violence by staff towards its young inmates.
No allegations have been made against Mr Marchant, who remains employed by G4S, but five men have been arrested by Kent Police on suspicion of child neglect or assault.
His departure came after Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said that managerial oversight had failed to protect young people at the centre for inmates aged 12 to 17.
Labour shadow human rights minister Andy Slaughter called on Justice Secretary Michael Gove to act urgently to make sure that other G4S-run facilities were being monitored effectively.
“We welcome moves to hold directors to account for the shocking allegations we witnessed at G4S-run Medway STC,” said Mr Slaughter.
“The chief inspector of prisons has today warned that the situation at Medway was unacceptable and that any inquiry should also focus on the implications of this case for the wider youth justice system.”
Shadow prisons and probation minister Jo Stevens said the government should put all G4S-run prisons, STCs and detention centres into “special measures.”
She also demanded that G4S contracts be reviewed and that the company not be considered for any new contracts while management teams are sent in to work alongside staff.
The allegations around Medway are the latest in a litany of scandals involving G4S and have led to renewed calls for the company to be denied any public-sector contracts.
Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham has already stated that a Labour government should refuse to give contracts to G4S and the Labour Party has dropped G4S security at its annual conferences.
“G4S is a serial human rights abuser, in the UK and across the world,” Greater Manchester Stop G4S convener John Nicholson told the Star.
“It is not just that they cannot administer anything … but that they are guilty of stealing public money and breaching human rights, including those of vulnerable people seeking asylum, young people in youth protection and Palestinian children held illegally in Israeli detention.”
He claimed that G4S was guilty of providing “disgusting” housing for asylum-seekers and had breached its duty of care at Yarl’s Wood immigration prison.
The firm was ordered to repay millions of pounds in taxpayers’ cash after charging for electronic tagging of offenders who had died.
“No lawful decision-maker should be awarding any contract to G4S,” said Mr Nicholson.
Mr Gove told Parliament yesterday that he had “tasked G4S with putting an improvement plan in place” to be overseen by a newly created independent improvement board.