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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/use-of-force-when-removing-people-from-uk-home-office-response/home-office-response-to-the-recommendations-from-the-independent-advisory-panel-on-non-compliance-management
1. Paragraph 2.26 recommendation
The current National Offender Management System (NOMS) proposals for assessing detainee custody officer (DCO) competence fall short of the requirements for consistency and transparency and the Home Office should work closely with NOMS to improve the assessment framework.
1.1 Home Office response
The Home Office accepts this recommendation and accepts that a robust assessment framework for assessing the competence of escort staff is essential. The introduction of a requirement to pass the course will reassure us that those working with detainees are competent to undertake this role. The Home Office is content with the assessment approach outlined by NOMS. Learners will be assessed in four ways:
- practical assessment of techniques
- written exam
- completion of a use of force report form
- scenario-based assessment
This will continue to be reviewed throughout delivery of the course to provide a view on what adjustments, if any, need to be made to the course or the overall assessment framework.
The scenarios have been mapped to all the national occupational standards. These specify the performance, knowledge and skills needed to perform a specific role and have been developed by Skills for Justice. The assessors from the training provider are all assessor qualified or equivalent. All tutors will receive trainer observations from externally accredited assessors who will use the assessment criteria to ensure that it is being followed.
2. Paragraph 4.65 recommendation
There should be independent monitoring of training delivery, both during the initial phase of re-training existing contractor staff and to ensure the quality of ongoing training.
2.1 Home Office response
Recommendation accepted. The Home Office is considering the best approach to independent monitoring of the delivery of the training. Initially, the training course will be internally reviewed at staged intervals within the first year of delivery. In addition, all training courses will be filmed to ensure a consistency of training. All tutors will receive trainer observations from externally accredited assessors who will use the assessment criteria to ensure that it is being appropriately followed.
3. Paragraph 4.68 recommendation
A formal review of the training package should be undertaken after the first year in order to refine the content and delivery in light of the initial roll-out.
3.1 Home Office response
The Home Office concurs with the panel that a formal review of the training package should be conducted at the first year point and will work with NOMS to integrate this with their ongoing review of the training and assessment framework
4. Paragraph 4.73 recommendation
The Home Office should examine the role of body-worn cameras might play in providing additional safeguards in the removals context.
4.1 Home Office response
The Home Office welcomes the suggestion for extending the use of body worn cameras to the escort process. At present all vehicles contain digital CCTV with audio-recording facilities and cameras are used during incidents in the immigration removals estate. The technology is quite new and there are some constraints in terms of battery life and storage capacity.
We are happy to look at the viability of extending this to pre-boarding of a flight, and whether this would be applicable to all escorted moves or those which are complex.
5. Paragraph 5.15 recommendation
The Home Office should develop and implement a governance structure reflecting the minimum requirements set out in this report. The panel therefore concludes that the current, and any future, escort contractors must establish, as a minimum:
- an internal review process for every incident in which force is used
- a review panel, involving operational managers of sufficient seniority to undertake a developed review of any incident in which there are questions about the circumstances in which force was used or the nature of the force employed
In addition, the panel considers that (as a matter of good practice) escort contractors should arrange for independent review of a proportion of incidents in which force is used.
5.1 Home Office response
Recommendation accepted. The Home Office has a clear governance framework in place. Following any incident of force staff must submit to Immigration Enforcement’s contract monitor a detailed written report within 24 hours of arriving back in the UK. This must have first been scrutinised by the escorting provider’s management team. Where our monitors have concerns about an incident, either from the reports or CCTV, the matter is referred to the Immigration Enforcement’s Professional Standards Unit to investigate; we may also commission investigations following complaints from third parties.
The Home Office use of force monitor will keep the governance system under review and will monitor its application. We accept that more sophisticated data collation and analysis is needed to support an assessment of the impact and appropriateness of the training and this will form part of the review. The Home Office welcomes the suggestion of an internal review panel and will consider the most appropriate way of embedding this.
In addition to the internal governance framework all services are subject to comprehensive oversight of both the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons and Independent Monitoring Boards.
6. Paragraph 5.15 recommendation
The immigration removals contractor should be required to adopt a use of force minimisation strategy.
6.1 Home Office response
Recommendation accepted. The Home Office agrees that the use of force should be kept to a minimum. Clear requirements are placed on our escort contractors to ensure that every effort is made to avoid the use of restraint, and where the application of force is deemed necessary; any such force must be reasonable and proportionate.
These requirements can be found in Home Office ‘Operating standards for the escort process and detention service orders’, and are emphasised during staff training and through ongoing management review of incidents of use of force.
7. Paragraph 6.3 recommendation
We recommend that the proposed restraint techniques and the associated equipment be adopted, along with the training package as proposed by NOMS.
7.1 Home Office response
The Home Office fully accepts that the system of restraint and equipment proposed by NOMS is safe and fit for purpose. Implementation and training will start in July 2014.