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LONDON (Reuters) - G4S (GFS.L), the world's largest security company, said on Friday it had suspended seven members of staff over allegations of unnecessary force and improper language at a British training centre for young offenders.
The company, which runs the Medway Secure Training Centre in Rochester, Kent, on behalf of the government, said it had referred the allegations to British police, local authorities and the Ministry of Justice.
G4S became aware of the allegations after receiving a letter from the BBC, Paul Cook, managing director for G4S Children’s Services in the UK, told reporters by phone on Friday.
He said the BBC's current affairs programme Panorama had an undercover reporter working at the centre and that the allegations related to a period from October to the end of December.
The seven male staff members suspended included training centre assistants, team leaders and duty operation managers at the centre, which provides training for young offenders aged 12 to 18.
An independent investigation has been launched by local authorities and the police.
"We take any allegations of unacceptable or inappropriate behaviour extremely seriously and are giving our full support and co-operation," Cook said.
G4S has worked to repair its reputation in Britain where it was criticised of its security work for the 2012 London Olympics.
The following year it was found to have overcharged for a contract to tag offenders, prompting a ban on new UK government work which lasted until April, 2014.
Editing by Jason Neely