Maybe one day, Western governments will ask themselves whether private companies should be tasked (and paid) to do the dirty work of removing refugees. Out of sight and out of mind:
The government’s deportation policy has been thrown into confusion after it emerged that the Home Office banned private security firms from forcing detainees on to flights following the death of a refugee, then lifted the moratorium 10 days later.
The chair of the Commons home affairs select committee, Keith Vaz, said he had “huge concerns” over the government’s apparent indecision about whether restraint could be used against deportees and accused officials of “flip-flopping”.
His concerns were echoed by Ed Balls, the shadow home secretary, who said it was now “vital” for the Home Office to release details of the circumstances surrounding the death of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan refugee who collapsed and died on a British Airways plane preparing for take-off at Heathrow earlier this month.
A ban on forcing detainees on to commercial flights, which officials described as a precautionary but “unprecedented” measure, was introduced on 15 October, three days after Mubenga lost consciousness while being heavily restrained by three guards working for the security firm G4S.
The Metropolitan police have since arrested the guards, who have been released on bail.
The firm, which conducts the majority of the 10,000 forced removals each year, informed the Guardian that use of restraint at boarding by its guards had been halted at the advice of the Home Office.
All private security firms were instructed by the Home Office to halt using force while officials checked that the techniques used to restrain deportees, which are the same used in prisons, were safe.