G4S’s handling of the removal of a pregnant woman at a pre-departure centre was heavily criticized in a Government report.

Nick Hardwick, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, decried the degree of force and technique used to remove the pregnant woman from the pre-departure centre. The incident occurred earlier this year when the pregnant woman was being pushed in a wheelchair to assist her in the departures area of the Cedars centre in Pease Pottage, West Sussex. The centre is used as a holding facility for persons who are in the process of being removed from the UK and is run by G4S. After the woman apparently tried to resist being moved in the wheelchair “substantial force” was applied and her wheelchair ended up being tipped in the air with G4S staff holding her feet. G4S stated that her husband had been causing problems the night before by acting in an apparently violent fashion. The G4S staff were therefore concerned that she may also cause problems when being transferred.

Mr Hardwick concluded that that the force used was unreasonable and “unacceptable” and that this could have resulted in an injury to either the pregnant woman or her unborn child.

The woman has apparently not made a claim for personal injury but would be entitled to do so if either her or her unborn child suffered any harm as a result of the use of unreasonable force.

Claiming for personal injury

If you have been physically or mentally harmed by the actions of another person then you may be entitled to make a claim for personal injury. For example, in road traffic accident claims drivers often harm is often caused by the failure of another driver to drive their vehicle in a reasonably competent fashion. In order for your claim to succeed the actions (or failure to act) of the other person must have fallen below the standard of the reasonable person in the circumstances – their behaviour must have been negligent. This negligence must also have caused the harm to the victim. Personal injury claims can often be complicated so if you’ve suffered harm because of the actions of another person then you should at least consider making a claim for personal injury.

In the above circumstances it doesn’t appear from first light that either the woman or her unborn child were harmed, which is fortunate. However, injuries to the unborn can often take months or years to manifest themselves and it is therefore appropriate that extreme caution is taken, as Mr Hardwick stated above, with pregnant women.

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