- Staff used abusive force, language, according to BBC Panorama
- Independent investigation opened by police and child services
G4S Plc suspended seven employees at a juvenile correctional facility after allegations were sent to the Ministry of Justice that guards used excessive force and one child was stabbed with a fork.
The staff at the Kent, England-based Medway Secure Training Centre was suspended and an independent investigation opened by police and the child services authority, G4S said in a statement Friday.
The move comes after the BBC’s Panorama program sent a letter to G4S last month detailing discoveries made by an undercover reporter at the facility from October until late December, Paul Cook, managing director for G4S Children’s Services U.K. said on a call with reporters. The information was immediately reported to the authorities, he said.
The allegations are a setback in G4S’s attempts to repair its reputation in the U.K. after a string of high-profile incidents including a security crisis at the 2012 Olympics and manslaughter charges against three guards -- who were ultimately cleared -- over the death of a prisoner at Heathrow airport in 2010.
The BBC letter said that employees had inappropriately restrained young people, used “foul abusive language and failed to report or covered up their actions,” Cook said on the call. “I’m obviously absolutely shocked and appalled at the evidence that was presented, which has no place in our business or any institution that has responsibility for looking after children.”
The 78-bed facility has been run by G4S since 1998.