G4S to sell contract for abuse probe training centre


G4S is to sell its UK children's services business, which includes 13 children's homes and its contracts to manage two secure training centres.

The two centres are based at Oakhill in Milton Keynes and in Medway, Kent, which was the recent focus of a BBC Panorama expose.

G4S said the disposal was part of a "continuing review of our business portfolio" as it seeks to "improve the strategic focus" of the organisation.

Undercover footage showed staff at Medway mistreating and abusing inmates, and boasting about using inappropriate techniques to restrain youngsters.

Other allegations included claims that staff tried to hide their actions by ensuring they were beneath CCTV cameras or in areas not covered by them.

G4S UK children's services had revenues of around £40 million in the year to December 2015.

It said the well-being and education of the children in its care remained its priority as it sought an "orderly transition" to a new operator.

Since the Panorama broadcast, five men have been arrested by Kent Police on suspicion of either child neglect or assault. All have been bailed to April.

G4S has sacked five members of staff, two others identified in the programme have been suspended and one other has been removed from operational duty as inquiries continue.

One of the employees who has been suspended works for Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL).

A G4S spokesman said: "This disposal is in line with a continuing review of our business portfolio which has seen a number of businesses sold or closed over the past two years as we improve the strategic focus of the organisation.

"We remain committed to supporting the work of the Ministry of Justice's Improvement Board at Medway STC, and in giving the police investigation our full co-operation."