“SERIOUS questions” have been raised at an immigration centre where there was alleged “awful abuse by staff against detainees” after it made £14.3 million in profit for the company that runs it.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the Home Affairs Committee, accused the Home Office of a “shockingly cavalier approach” to sensitive contracts after a National Audit Office (NAO) investigation found security company G4S had made the profit from Brook House immigration removal centre between 2012 and 2018.

The revelation comes after a Panorama programme documented alleged abuses against detainees at the centre near Gatwick Airport.

Incidents identified from the Panorama footage were not classified as a contractual breach and did not lead to any significant penalties, and the Home Office and G4S say they have been working together to improve leadership, management and training. But at least six members of staff were dismissed by G4S following the broadcast. The NAO report found G4S has been making “significant profits” on the Brook House contract.

They found that, between 2012 and 2018, G4S made £14.3m gross profits, (before deducting a share of company overheads, such as human resources), with gross profit rates of between 10% and 20% each year. Following the Panorama programme, G4S’s profits fell because it started to spend more on delivering the contract. The Home Office has also increased the size and role of its contract monitoring team.

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Cooper said the findings raise “serious questions” about the Home Office’s handling of sensitive contracts and claimed it should have picked up problems sooner.

She said: “For G4S to be making up to 20% gross profits on the Brook House contract at the same time as such awful abuse by staff against detainees was taking place is extremely troubling.”

She added: “The NAO’s findings call into serious question the Home Office’s management of this sensitive contract and raise real problems about the contract itself.

“They are right to say how worrying it is that Home Office monitoring did not reveal the gravity of the incidents taking place at Brook House.

“Our report on immigration detention has already identified a shockingly cavalier approach by the Home Office to immigration detention and a lack of proper oversight to ensure effective, safe and humane management of IRCs.”

She said the committee will be pursuing further questions with G4S and the Home Office.

A Home Office spokesman said: “The events at Brook House highlighted by Panorama were shocking and from the very beginning we have been

absolutely committed to understanding all aspects of what happened and embedding learning across all centres.

Following the programme and the subsequent action plan, the Home Office decided to cancel the Brook House procurement and start it again. To facilitate this, it agreed an extension on the current Brook House contract to May 2020.