Private guards inside detention centres: no breakdown of costs

The private security companies Signal 8, JF Security, and Executive, have been employed to provide services at the Safi and Hal Far closed centres for irregular migrants

Malta has received over 2,000 arrivals from boat migrants according to UNHCR data
Malta has received over 2,000 arrivals from boat migrants according to UNHCR data

The private security companies Signal 8, JF Security, and Executive, have been employed to provide services at the Safi and Hal Far closed centres for irregular migrants.

The use of private security guards at Malta’s detention centres was brought to the limelight after a security guard – Darren Bonello – shot one of five migrants who escaped from the Safi centre in a riot last week.

A spokesperson for the home affairs ministry confirmed with MaltaToday that detention centre guards are not authorised to carry firearms both at the open and closed centres.

The ministry said that at open centres run by the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers, Signal 8 is providing security services following a call for tenders.

Due to the rise in arrivals, the Detention Services Unit – which is separate from AWAS – commissioned private security companies to assist detention officers. Companies Signal 8, JF and Executive are being employed at the closed centres in Safi and Hal Far. But a breakdown on the number of security guards employed as well as the costs involved were not given by the ministry.

Malta has received over 2,000 arrivals from boat migrants according to UNHCR data.

Bonello was accused of using a shotgun that was in his car to shoot at the man, who sustained slight injuries, according to police.

Bonello, 30, was granted bail after being charged with the attempted murder of Abdulrahman Abdullah Hamza.

Bonello was further accused of breaching conditions of his arms licence and carrying the weapon in public without permission. He pleaded not guilty.

Bonello first fired a warning shot, then hit Hamza with a second shot as he tried scaling the fence leading to the airport runway.

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