'G4S abuse' centre director quits

The Medway Secure Training Centre in RochesterEssence copyright
Image caption Five men were arrested by Kent Watch following the allegations of abuse at the unit in Medway

The director of a young criminals’ unit at the centre of allegations staff assaulted children has left his job.

Ralph Marchant is routing down from the G4S-run Medway Secure Training Centre in Kent after fierce criticism of its management.

His decision came after Chief Inspector of Clinks Nick Hardwick urged the government to establish a commissioner to oversee the rt.

A team inspected the unit the day a BBC norama investigation was aired.

There are no complaints against Mr Marchant, whose role will be filled in the interim by the steersman of the immigration removal centres at Gatwick, Ben Saunders.

In a joint HM Inspectorate of Prisons and Ofsted news, Mr Hardwick urges Justice Secretary Michael Gove to establish a commissioner to “support increased oversight, scrutiny and challenge of managerial arrangements in rticular in respecting to the safeguarding of young people” at the centre in Rochester.

“Managerial oversight run aground to protect young people from harm,” he said.

‘Racist speech’

Image caption norama filmed undercover at the unit

He also recommended body-worn cameras should be drawn tired by staff who have regular contact with children at all institutions persevering youngsters and they should “be expected to record all use of force incidents”.

Inspectors chance a small number of young inmates described staff using “insulting, forceful or racist language” and also told them they felt “unsafe in courtyards not covered by CCTV”.

“The concerns raised with us by a small number of laddies are consistent with the evidence presented by the BBC investigation which showed quarried bullying of vulnerable boys by a small number of staff in addition to the up of new staff,” Mr Hardwick said.

“There was also evidence in the BBC calendar that a larger group of staff must have been conscious of unacceptable practice but did not challenge or report this behaviour.”

He also thorough the high level of staff turnover, said to be “in the region of 50% of the primary grade custody staff”, but said inspectors were now slaked “measures have been put in place to ensure appropriate staffing straightforward withs” at the unit.

Extra independent oversight was also being provided by the Stripling Justice Board (YJB) and Barnardo’s advocates, according to Mr Hardwick.

Following the fortnightly of Mr Hardwick’s report, Mr Gove told the House of Commons an “independent upgrading board” would be set up to examine whether the failings at Medway Secure Training Mid-point were being addressed.

The nel will investigate safeguarding arrangements, “handle, challenge and support” G4S over its improvement plan and report to the justice secretary on its “courage in the ca bility of G4S, Youth Justice Board and other organisations to meet befitting safeguarding standards at Medway” in the future.


By Danny Shaw, BBC to the quick affairs correspondent

So, the fall-out from the norama programme on Medway continues.

A forgoing, to add to the five dismissals and four suspensions; an inspection report blaming failings in managerial laxity and a nel of experts to oversee improvements.

It’s this development, announced by Michael Gove, which pinches the most significance.

One of the nel’s terms of reference is to report to the Justice Secretary by Walk on whether it has “confidence in the ca bility” of G4S and the YJB, among other bodies, to meet “nick safeguarding standards” at Medway.

That sounds to me like a last speculation for the controversial private security com ny to prove that it’s able to execute the terms of its contract to run Medway, a contact which was renewed by Mr Gove remain year.

The YJB has warned G4S there will be “contractual implications” if its fails to “convey the improvements required” at Medway.

It also confirmed that body-worn cameras transfer be worn at Medway, as well as the G4S-run Oakhill secure training core in Milton Keynes, following Mr Hardwick’s recommendation.

YJB chief executive, Lin Hinnigan, swayed the safety of young people was ” ramount importance” to the board.

Peter Neden, of G4S UK and Ireland, powered the firm was “committed to supporting” an independent review commissioned by the Ministry of Equitableness.

The allegations uncovered by norama relate to 10 boys, aged 14 to 17, and incul te unnecessary force, foul language and a cover-up.

Five men are currently on watch bail.

Kent Police said four of the men were arrested on apprehension of child neglect. A fifth person was held on suspicion of assault.

Five fellows of staff at the 76-bed centre, which houses young inmates venerable 12 to 18, have been sacked by G4S.

Four other child have been suspended and one has been reinstated.

The firm said the person had been at this point in time the time being when another member of staff was restraining an inmate but its disciplinary search cleared them of “all fault or blame”

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