In all cases in our dossier, what may have started off as ‘reasonable’ force turned into what we consider to be excessive force.
This dossier reached nearly 300 cases of alleged assault. The alleged assaults took place between January 2004 and June 2008. In addition to our findings, 48 detailed case studies are included in Part 2.
One asylum seeker ended up with his leg in a plaster cast and a woman was pushed through airports in a wheelchair after having allegedly been assaulted. The most common form of injury recorded resulted from inappropriate use of handcuffing, including swelling and cuts to the wrist, sometimes leading to long lasting nerve damage. Other injuries included bruising and swelling to the face and fractures to the wrists, ribs or ankles. Often psychological consequences resulted, such as the onset or exacerbation of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic attacks, suicidal feelings and depression.
66 % of alleged assaults were against men and 34 % against women. 48% of the assaults occurred at the airport before the detainee was placed on the plane and 12 % took place in the transport van on the way to the airport. 24% of alleged assaults took place on the aeroplane before take-off and 3% after take-off. 7% took place in the van back to the detention centre after the removal had already failed and 6 % took place within detention centres.
There were 27 alleged incidents involving families, comprising a total of 42 children, 5 of whom are alleged to have been assaulted themselves.
Many of those assaulted made allegations of racism against the escort; there are repeated accounts of abusive language used such as “black bitch” and “black monkey, go back to your own country.”
Alleged assaults took place on scheduled airline flights, charter flights and military planes. Private jets have also been arranged to remove people from the UK.