Feltham staff lacked adequate training

There were “flaws” in systems to investigate race-related incidents
at Feltham young offender institution at the time of the murder of
Asian teenager Zahid Mubarek, an inquiry heard last week.

Michael Cowan, head of operations at Feltham, told the public
inquiry into Mubarek’s death that staff lacked training and race
incidents were not adequately reported.

He described how staff “visibly shut down” when they attended race
relations training, and said older staff had been particularly
resistant to change.

Mubarek’s father, Amin, told the inquiry that Mubarek had asked to
be moved from the cell he shared with Stewart because he was
“weird”. He indicated that Mubarek suspected Stewart was a racist
because of the “R.I.P” tattoo he had on his head.

The inquiry also heard that prison officers might have created a
“smoke screen” for missing records from the night of Mubarek’s
murder. Cowan admitted that it was “possible” that officers had
allegedly “taken a handful” of night patrol records from the
security office to cover up for a missing record from Mubarek’s

The principal officer in charge of Feltham’s security department,
David Comber, told police in a statement read to the inquiry that
eight night patrol and locking up reports from the night of the
murder, including one for Swallow Unit where Mubarek and Stewart
were held, had disappeared from the security office.

Cowan said the records were normally stored there after being
checked by an orderly officer. But he said he was “unable to
confirm” whether the night patrol record for Mubarek’s unit existed
and admitted that it had never been found.

The inquiry continues.

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