Further concerns have been raised in the community with regards to the security firm tasked with looking after the Asylum Seekers Accommodation Centre in Penally, after video footage and recordings taken from within the camp emerged over the weekend.
Following a matter last week (November 17) when it was claimed that members of the security staff staged a mini-demonstration outside the facility over workers not being paid by their employers at ‘AK Security Services Ltd’ in recent weeks (a matter that the Home Office have claimed is not the case) - videos have circulated on social media over the past few days, revealing incidents that have taken place inside the grounds of the facility since the Military of Defence site was repurposed by the Home Office at the end of September.
It’s the latest controversy surrounding the ‘AK Security’ firm who are based in London and subcontracted by the site’s managing operators Clearsprings, tasked with patrolling the camp and looking after the safety of the service users, with the facility currently housing around 170 asylum seekers, with scope for that to increase to 234.
The first video filmed by a Penally resident from inside their vehicle, shows them being able to drive into the grounds of the camp, uncontested initially for some time, before being surrounded by members of security staff, whilst they await a police presence.
In a phone call made to police from inside the car, the villager says that they drove around the asylum camp to check something out and that one of the “guys opened the gate and I drove in.”
“It seemed like he was inviting me in when he opened the gate!” the motorist told the police operator, before stating that they did not need to show any form of identification before entering the grounds - “I just simply drove up to the gate, he opened it and I drove in and they let me in,” they continued in the video.
The resident states that it was ‘some time’ before they were approached by any security staff, and was able to drive around inside the camp grounds freely, and even has time to conduct leisurely conversations with some of the asylum seekers staying at the site, asking them where they are from, before asking for directions to the main office block.
One of the videos titled ‘Invited in’ can be viewed at the follwing YouTube link:?https://youtu.be/xB7ksbM03rY
Further video footage obtained by Pembroke Dock county councillor Paul Dowson from within the camp, shows the manner in which AK Security staff have dealt with tensions that have arisen on occasions between some of those staying at the facility, which has on more than one occasion led to police officers being called to offer assistance to deal with incidents taking place inside the accommodation - most recently during the evening of Tuesday, November 10, when a disturbance was reported at the Penally Asylum Accommodation Centre, with police officers attending and five males arrested for minor assaults.
Two men were also arrested after a disturbance within the facility on October 20, with one eye witness residing nearby describing a ‘mass brawl’ breaking out amongst asylum seekers, which required a large police presence at the facility, with over a dozen police vehicles in attendance.
Last month, police and paramedics attended the camp one afternoon to tend to an incident where a member of the public was allegedly assaulted outside the site after an altercation with a member of the security staff. The injured 55-year-old man was taken to hospital for treatment.
At the time Dyfed-Powys Police stated that an investigation was taking place into the circumstances around the ‘allegation of assault outside Penally Asylum Accommodation Centre’ on October 8.
Concerns have also been raised on social media after a number of photos were displayed on the ‘AK Security’ firm’s website showing various sets of firearms, such as AK 9 mm rifles and handguns, which were subsequently removed after complaints were made to the Home Office.
Clr. Dowson, who runs his own security company in Pembrokeshire, has called AK Security ‘shambolic’ after being sent the videos from someone who knows him well from the security industry.
“AK Security who are the main company at the Penally camp are shambolic!” remarked Clr. Dowson.
“Watching the video of the resident that entered the camp’s grounds in their car, I was surprised to see that none of the staff were displaying their SIA licence!
“Whether its security or door work, frontline people have to display a licence and the only exception to this is if its conducting undercover security work, which they are not.”
On viewing some of the footage from within the camp building, Clr. Dowson has slammed the manner in which security staff have tried to handle potentially volatile flare-ups between those residing at the facility.
“The fundamental objective with any sort of security work or even door work, is to avoid confrontation and to defuse a situation before it takes place. Watching the videos I can see that the security staff stand back and allow the confrontations to happen as if they are waiting for them to take place before they intervene - a complete schoolboy error and should not be any type of practice!” he continued.
“AK Security were hired to protect the people within the camp, and to also protect the people in the camp from themselves or causing harm to anyone else in the community.
“They don’t seem to grasp that initiative, it seems to be quite foreign to them, as they’re allowing altercations to take place, and they’re allowing people to come inside the camp freely.
“We do not know what the motivation is of these asylum seekers, we do not know who they are or if they are genuinely fleeing for their lives. Regardless of what the welcoming committee and what the local left-wing people will tell you, that they’re all poor people running from a war, we do not know full stop.
“I have had pictures of homemade weapons that have been found by security from within the camp and according to my source who worked there, they have been instructed to throw them away and not make an issue of it!
“A security company must be alert and on guard at all times. They should also not be letting somebody into the camp that could be someone who wishes to cause harm to the people that are there,” remarked Clr. Dowson.
A recording of a phone call purported to be between a staff member of AK Security that worked at the Penally camp and the firm’s owner Mohammed Ali Khan over a dispute regarding wage payments not being transferred to their account on time has also been revealed by Clr. Dowson.
A transcript of the conversation shows Mr. Khan telling the aggrieved staff member who states that they are still waiting for wages amounting to £1,000 to appear in their bank account: “What did I say to you yesterday, do you understand English? Are you thick in the head, are you dumb in the head. Do you have a brain? Within three working days it will be in your account.
“If you show up again I promise you that I’m going to do something and trust me you don’t want me to do it. I don’t like threatening people but I’m not a kid my friend. You’re a boy so listen to me, you don’t want me to do it, and if I go onto your level, I will do something.
“Listen to me, I’ll make it easier for you, just sit at home, don’t do nothing because if you do, I can be a bad man, and you don’t want me to be a bad man.”
On the recording, Clr. Dowson remarked: “Mr. Khan first of all lied to the staff member blatantly, and then threatened to come down and be a ‘bad man’.
“AK Security although employed by the Home Office have not been vetted at all, they pay their security staff £100 a shift without taking any details such as National Insurance numbers, or home addresses - therefore it is not going through the proper legal channels, not going through the books, therefore no tax is being paid or National Insurance.
“This is completely illegal which does not surprise me looking at the shambolic state in which this security company display themselves and behave.
“All security personnel, badge holders with the SIA are traceable. The public are able to do a name search or a badge number search on the SIA website - yet I cannot find Mohammed Ali Khan as a registered security operative or door person, neither can I find AK Security services on the SIA website, which makes me believe that they are not qualified or certified in any way shape or form.
“AK Security are not only a risk, putting the lives of the people inside of the camp in danger, they are also endangering the lives and wellbeing of everyone living locally by being inept at their job,” added Clr. Dowson.