Any physical assault is a criminal offence. However, Detention Centre Officers have the power to use force where necessary and proportionate – it only becomes an assault when excessive or unnecessary force is used.
There are many reports of abuse and serious mistreatment of detained asylum seekers, by the companies hired by the Home Office to run IRCs and by their transport services, including beatings and injuries, as in the case of Jimmy Mubenga’s death, where an inquest reached a verdict of Unlawful Killing. See “Outsourcing Abuse: state-sanctioned violence during the removal of asylum seekers“.
Injuries following use of force are often not examined, recorded or photographed. If a detainee is injured during removal and the removal goes ahead, there is apparently no requirement for the incident to be reported.