- Created: Thursday, 06 October 2016 09:59
- Written by Ashley Wilkinson
From its discreet, tightly guarded HQ on the fifth floor of a building in Victoria Street central London, and its Security Services offices in Crawley (near Gatwick), G4S direct its global operations. Operations involve protecting the wealth of corporations, powerful individuals, and governments. It protects government institutions and facilities, and provides back-office police support, fast-response squads, alarm systems and surveillance, security software integration, airport security screening, immigration services, and transportation and imprisonment of detainees. Profits derive from taking custody of the most marginalised, most vulnerable, and the most alienated globally, and from maximising the exploitation of staff: that means skimping on training, paying the bare minimum wages, zero hours contracts, clamping down on unions, recruiting on the cheap, and constantly stretching employees to their limits in high-pressure workplaces. The result is a reliance on brutality in an atmosphere of casual racism.
In 2011, the government were embarrassed enough to promise to end detention of asylum seekers’ children. At the time of writing, children continue to be detained at Cedars immigration detention centre in Crawley under the control of G4S, or ‘pre-departure accommodation centre’, as they would have us call it, but they are due to move detainees to another facility. Donna Covey, chief executive of the Refugee Council, stated ‘there is no hiding the fact that this is still a family detention unit’. Heaven Crawley, professor of international migration, wrote ‘it is important to call a spade a spade. To repackage detention as “pre-departure accommodation” is disingenuous. Families with children will be taken to the facility against their will’.