Seven G4S staff members at a young offenders training centre have been suspended following the latest undercover BBC Panorama investigation.

Following on from their Winterbourne view expose, the BBC managed to get an undercover reporter into Medway Secure Training Centre in Rochester, managed by security firm G4S. The centre holds 56 children, mainly boys, aged 12 to 17.

The programme, which is set to be aired on Monday, is reported to show:

  • Slapped a teenager several times in the head
  • Pressed heavily on the necks of young people
  • Used restraint techniques unnecessarily - and that included squeezing a teenager's windpipe so he had problems breathing
  • Used foul language to frighten and intimidate - and boasted of mistreating young people, including using a fork to stab one on the leg and making another cry uncontrollably
  • Tried to conceal their behaviour by ensuring they were beneath CCTV cameras or in areas not covered by them

In various media reports the focus has been on unnecessary ‘force’ and the overuse of ‘physical restraint’ techniques. But is that really the heart of the issue?

Phil Hardy, Director of Securicare said, “Sadly this situation is not unique, but it would be a mistake to think of it as being a problem with restraint techniques. Look at what happened at Winterbourne view. A toxic culture was allowed to develop, and powerful personalities were able to impose their will on service users. The net result was that a punitive and abusive regime, completely divorced from the official service providers stated ethos and philosophies, was able to grow and flourish unchecked”

“When looking at what went wrong at Winterbourne View everything pointed to a failure in leadership. Time will tell, but my sense is that this will become the focus of the inevitable enquiry in this case. The role of good leadership in both improving levels of service, and reducing any restrictive practices has long been recognised, and recently formally for health and social care providers in the Department of Health’s ‘Positive and Practice Care’ document.  The solution to problems like those faced by G4S are likely to be the implementation of more robust operational policies, better recruitment, stronger supervision, and more proactive quality assurance, along with good recording, reporting and reflective learning.. I look forward to seeing how the situation develops..”

SecuriCare offer a range of courses designed to enable support workers, carers and foster families to best respond to any ‘Challenging Behaviour’ that may occur. All programmes are finalised after full training needs analysis and delivered by experienced frontline practitioners. Click to see our ‘Preventing & Managing Challenging Behaviour’ Course which includes ‘Positive Behaviour Management’ techniques designed to minimise the need for any kind of restrictive intervention. You can also take a look at our person centred Behaviour Planning Service.

Contact us for more information and to discuss your needs: E: trainers@securicare.com or T: 01904 492442

Click for the full story from BBC News