Three men have been arrested following a recent Panorama investigation into alleged abuse at a young offenders’ centre in Kent.
Allegations of Child Neglect
The BBC programme saw investigators go under cover at Medway Secure Training Centre in Rochester, which is run by security firm G4S, highlighting numerous allegations of the inappropriate behaviour of staff members.
The three men have been held on suspicion of child neglect relating to ten boys, with ages ranging from 14 to 17. They are among four team leaders at Medway that were sacked earlier this week.
The allegations of abuse highlighted by BBC Panorama include:
• Foul language being used by staff to frighten and intimidate;
• Staff boasting about incidents of mistreatment, including stabbing one teenager in the leg with a fork and causing another to cry uncontrollably;
• Staff slapping a teenager’s head multiple times;
• Staff utilising unnecessary restraint methods;
• Staff ‘pressing heavily’ on the necks of teenagers.
Further to this, it has been alleged that incidents such as the above are often carried out in areas within the centre that are not covered by CCTV in an attempt by staff to conceal any inappropriate conduct.
A further three men have been suspended at the centre following the claims, including a training centre assistant and two duty operation managers. Whilst a female duty operation manager has been put on restricted duty and a healthcare worker (employed by Central and North West London Trust) has also been suspended from their position.
A spokesperson for the Trust has said:
“One CNWL staff member contacted us before the programme to say that they had been present at one incident in the film; the footage broadcast confirmed this.
“Whilst we are pleased he came forward, he has been suspended whilst that incident is fully investigated.”
Reaction of G4S
Managing director for children’s services at G4S, Paul Cook, has released a statement saying that the police and relevant authorities have the firm’s full support and cooperation. He added that they will continue to provide police with access to their centres, records and CCTV footage.
“There is no place in our business for the conduct shown on the BBC’s Panorama programme on Monday night.
“We are grateful to the police for their swift action in this case.
“We will work with the police and local authority to keep our own actions under review in light of today’s developments.”
All claims have been referred by G4S to the Ministry of Justice and the Youth Justice Board, as well as Medway’s local authority designated officer.
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Source: BBC News