Three men have been arrested on suspicion of child neglect following a BBC Panorama investigation into the treatment of young offenders at a centre run by security company G4S. Detectives from Kent Police said the men are in custody and would be interviewed later on 13 January.
The broadcast of the BBC Panorama programme on 11 January saw a series of allegations made against some G4S staff working at the Medway Secure Training Centre (STC) near Rochester. Footage appeared to show young offenders being hit on the head and staff using inappropriate restraining techniques, and also saw staff boast of abuse.
The investigation led G4S, the world's largest security company, to sack four team leaders at Medway STC. A further three staff members remain suspended.
A spokesman for Kent Police said: "Officers investigating reports of abusive behaviour alleged to have taken place at a secure training facility in Medway have arrested three men on suspicion of child neglect. The Kent Police investigation was launched following a referral from the Medway Local Authority Designated Officer. The men are currently in custody and will be interviewed later today."
It represents just the latest in a number of setbacks for the public face of G4S. The company was investigated in 2013 over allegations it overcharged for tagging criminals in the UK, which resulted in the company paying the government £109m.
In February 2015, the contractor faced a damning Ofsted report following an inspection at the G4S-run Rainsbrook youth training centre near Rugby. Children held there were found to have been subject to "degrading treatment" and racist abuse by staff under the influence of illegal drugs.
G4S was awarded a £50m ($71m) five-year contract to run Medway STC in Kent in September 2015. In the most recent Ofsted inspection, in 2014, Medway STC was classified as "good with outstanding features".
Paul Cook, managing director for G4S Children's Services in the UK, said the most recent allegations had been referred to Medway's Local Authority Designated Officer for safeguarding children (LADO), the Youth Justice Board (YJB) and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).
He said: "We are treating the allegations with the utmost gravity and have taken immediate action to suspend a number of staff members who are alleged to have conducted themselves in a manner which is not in line with our standards. We take any allegations of unacceptable or inappropriate behaviour extremely seriously and are giving our full support and co-operation to the LADO and the police as the investigation moves forward.
"The police and LADO are the appropriate independent authorities to conduct the initial investigation into the allegations and once that investigation has concluded, we will agree with the Ministry of Justice and Youth Justice Board whether further independent review or investigation is required. We continue to focus on the care, well-being and education of the young people at the centre, which is our primary objective."