THE CROWN Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced that two companies which ran the Harmondsworth Detention Centre and its health services should face criminal charges in connection with the death of a detainee four years ago.
Harmondsworth currently houses 661 men who are due to be removed or deported from the UK. Campaigners have long claimed that the conditions in the centre have been below standard to the point where they are dangerous ever since management of the centre was handed over to the private sector.
In October 2012, Harmondsworth was run by the private company GEO Group UK Ltd, which had a contract with Nestor Primecare Services Ltd to run health services in the facility. Both companies will be charged with breaches of health and safety law. The law requires companies to take reasonable care of anyone affected by the company going about its business.
The charges arise out of the death of Prince Fosu, a 31 year old man of Ghanaian origin who came to the attention of the authorities when he was found running naked down a public street. He was arrested and it was found that he had not legal basis for being in the UK. He was taken to Harmondsworth pending deportation.
Six days after he was placed in Harmondsworth, Fosu was found on the floor of his cell – dead. An inquest into the cause of death was opened and adjourned.
It is not yet clear when the companies will be charged and when the case will come to trial.