A document detailing staff training procedures reveals how asylum seekers in Australia are “hit” by Serco officers to restrain and control them.
Instructions on how to “hit” and “strike” asylum seekers are included in a 2009 and 2010 training manual produced by Serco, the company contracted to run Australia’s detention centres.
Earlier today, the independent online news publication Crikey revealed the 406-page induction training document, which shows how Serco officers are trained to “kick, punch and jab their fingers into detainee limbs and ‘pressure points’ to render them motionless”.
The document says control and restraint is to “be used safely, humanely and lawfully control and restrain hostile detainees” and includes photographs demonstrating the techniques described.
It explains the “expected effect” of the techniques is create “medium to high level pain”.
Serco runs nine asylum outposts in Australia including Curtin detention centre in northern Western Australia and Acacia prison, 60 kilometers east of Perth.
The company’s contract with the Gillard Government is worth $1 billion.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said the manual is not the current manual that Serco is using.
“It is important to know that client service officers (Serco officers) are not armed,” she said.
“Any use of force in detention is strictly a last resort.”
“If they do seek to use force for such things, like flexi cuffs, then that must be approved before that happens.”
Father Paul Crotty, 47, who ministers directly to the Port Augusta immigration residential housing in Ellis Close, South Australia said the staff at the centre are “well observed”.
“In the time we have seen the staff interact with detainees they seem to have a good relationship and rapport,” Fr Paul said.
“I have not seen any evidence of maltreatment in Port Augusta and detainees have not mentioned any actions of violence or mistreatment towards them.”
Fr Paul said in Port Augusta they minister people from the Middle East; Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, and recently young Vietnamese people.
He said they [the ministers] have “a good working relationship with the staff”.
“Those allegations are alarming and should rings bells in the Department of Immigration,” he said.
“What is the basis of those training, why are they training staff in those methods?”
Serco could not be reached for comment.