Disability benefit assessors hired ‘security guard’ to beat up claimant’s husband

This is scandalous on several levels. A government-employed benefit assessment company hired a man to assault the husband of a benefit claimant and then denied responsibility for the injuries that resulted.

Firstly, Independent Assessment Services (you know this company as Atos), hired a “security guard” to remove Keith Langham from an interview about his wife Karen’s PIP assessment after an incident at a previous meeting.

Secondly, this man refused to identify himself, making it possible for his employers to disassociate themselves from him. But then, what would he be doing there, if he wasn’t working for them?

Thirdly, this man committed grievous bodily harm on the 62-year-old grandfather for no readily-apparent reason.

Fourthly, the employers of the “security guard” did disassociate themselves from the offender and allowed him to take the fall for doing exactly what he was hired to do.

Fifthly, why is this matter only being reported now – more than a year after the incident?

Finally, how many other benefit claimants are being greeted with violence?

Atos – or whatever the company is calling itself these days – needs to take responsibility for its decisions.

Chris Bryan would not have been at the Carlisle assessment centre if Atos had not invited him.

Staff there approved of and supported his attack on Mr Langham, and tried to hide the incident on the day – one of the nurses is said to have told Mr Bryan to “get them out through the fire doors”.

Karen Langham had been told by an Atos representative that people like her needed to learn to help themselves, at her previous appointment. It seems clear that Mr Langham had intervened in that interview and it would be worth knowing what happened then.

But all the company had to say afterwards was that Mr Bryan had been removed from duty by its delivery partner and an investigation was taking place.

This is not good enough. It is another example of the persecution of people with disabilities by the Conservative government and its contractors.

Here are details of the story, by the Daily Mirror:

“Keith Langham was left with blood pouring from a head wound after helping wife Karen, 61, with the interview for her Personal Independence Payments. She was told that people like her ‘needed to learn to help themselves’ amid ugly scenes at her first appointment.

“At the second interview, Keith, who is 5ft 5in tall and 10-and-a-half stone, had to be taken to hospital after he was grabbed by powerfully-built six footer Chris Bryan, then aged 30.

“Semi-retired Keith, a services manager said: “He was a very large guy, I would say he was about 6ft 4in tall and 16st, heavily built, shaven headed. He said he was security and we had to leave the building. But he was not wearing any ID.

““I asked who he worked for and he told me he did not have to tell me and we had to leave. We were heading towards the reception when one of the nurses said ‘get them out through the fire doors’.”

“The couple, of Haltwhistle, Northumberland, now realise the second appointment had been ‘flagged’ by the assessors due to problems with their staff at the first interview, and the security guard was brought in as a result.

“Northumbria Police were called to the incident on Aug 18, 2017. Keith was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, where he received seven stitches in the head wound.

“Independent Assessment Services stressed their delivery partner managing the site had immediately removed him from duty and a ‘thorough investigation was conducted’.”

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11 thoughts on “Disability benefit assessors hired ‘security guard’ to beat up claimant’s husband

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It was, and the perpetrator was convicted. He’s appealing against that, and the case will be heard on September 28.

      My point is that the assessment company has a certain amount of responsibility too.

      1. jg

        The Assessing company and where they hired this guy from should both be held accountable and did they do the required background checks that there supposed to do? I do so much hope that when he appeals his sentence the judge decides the sentence was to lenient and throws him inside for a considerable amount of time and increases the costs.

      2. valerie

        Yes, they ARE responsible just like a Data contoller is still reponsible if the out source work..so in a way..the DWP are responsible too.. I think? They have CCTVs watching you arrive & leave these centres now! They are NOT Tribunals..they are TRIALS!

  1. trev

    Truly shocking. The G4SS goons at the Jobcentre are bad enough for intimidating people but this is way out of order. There was a thug of a security man at Bradford Council’s Skills For Work centre (Appleton House) a few years ago who bragged to me about having beaten someone up, and then not long after I’d completed their crappy course he was on the front page of the local paper & had been jailed for 10 years for his part in organizing an armed robbery at some bar he was moonlighting at as a bouncer.

  2. wildthing666

    Who contracted him to be there as security on the day in question? Go after them for compensation, if it was Atos in one of their guises go after them. If it was the building owners, possibly Telereal Trillium, go after them. Or just go after the DWP as it was them that sent the wife there and you attended with her, she is allowed someone with her and that someone was you, their only excuse I could see them trying to use would be that you didn’t have to go with her. A bit of a we can but try to say he didn’t have to be there and could be countered with their own words of someone can attend with the claimant.

    For PIP or DLA I haven’t seen any security, but ESA is a different matter and some are very intimidating and make snide remarks that mainly can only be heard by the claimant and someone very close to the claimant. I have retaliated against them before now and twice provided recorded evidence of what the security Muppet said

  3. Rik

    I hope, this, thug is taken to the cleaners & Keigh Langham gets a good compensation payout..
    So good luck with that..

  4. Pat Sheehan

    The ‘assessment companies’ being contracted by the DWP have a ‘duty of care’: surely!
    The DWP as directed by the Government has a ‘duty of care’: surely!
    The Government as elected by the voting public has a ‘duty of care’: surely!
    The default position adopted by all of the above however has long appeared to be ‘couldn’t care less’ and the United Nations though not at all happy about this obviously rancid state of affairs nevertheless remains an apparently ‘toothless’ watchdog!

    1. jg

      I agree they do have a duty of care but I wonder how much they carried this out, as a volunteer I get crb checked every 3 years for my roles, I also believe you have to have certain accreditation to do this kind of work, there needs to be a full investigation and this guy should not also be carrying the can but those that employed him and anyone else involved should face due legal process, I do so hope the family sues the lot and if there is good evidence lets see some well deserved prison time for people who advocate and support this kind of behaviour

  5. barry

    It is tough enough to get through these assessments without security thugs making it even more harrowing, I have been through the system a few time and always get turned down at this first hurdle. i won in court for my claim for e,s,a, i was awarded 18 points but the dwp still said no so i haven’t received any esa for 3 years. now i am changing to pip from d,l,a and i lost out in the first assessment for this, so now i have zero income until my time in court. how am i supposed to survive?

Comments are closed.