United Kingdom

Firm that hired investigators to probe claims against British troops is handed council contracts

A company that recruited investigators to probe allegations against British troops in Iraq has been awarded contracts to employ Covid-19 marshals across England.

Red Snapper recruitment is advertising for marshals to patrol town centres and ensure social distancing is maintained across local authorities in England. 

Successful applicants can expect a rate of £103.76 per day working between 2pm and 11pm five days a week and must have experience in a law enforcement role.

Red Snapper recruitment is advertising for marshals to patrol town centres and ensure social distancing is maintained across local authorities in England

The marshals must be 'physically fit' and are expected to act as the 'eyes and ears on the ground', according to Red Snapper Group.

The firm tweeted: 'Red Snapper Managed Services Covid-19 Marshalls are available and ready to deploy in your local area. 

'RSMS has the capability to deliver teams drawn from policing, community safety and ASB backgrounds.' 

The firm tweeted: 'Red Snapper Managed Services Covid-19 Marshalls are available and ready to deploy in your local area'

While the marshals do not have the power to fine people, they do have a responsibility to report 'ongoing problems for further investigation', according to Red Snapper Group.  

Following a new tier system to replace the lockdown, the Covid-19 marshals are also on the ground to teach the public on the new rules. 

The roles have been reportedly advertised in Sandwell in the West Midlands, Bedford, Slough, Staffordshire and Bristol.  

The marshals must be 'physically fit' and are expected to act as the 'eyes and ears on the ground', according to Red Snapper Group (file image) 

Red Snapper, which is understood to have a turnover of £30million each year, made headlines in 2016 for recruiting staff for the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT).

IHAT was set up by the Labour government in 2010 to examine allegations of murder and torture made by hundreds of Iraqi civilians.

The majority of cases were brought to the unit's attention by law firms such as Public Interest Lawyers, which closed after being stripped of legal-aid funding over alleged irregularities.

Following a new tier system to replace the lockdown, the Covid-19 marshals are also on the ground to teach the public on the new rules (file image) 

A Covid marshal issues a group in a park with a yellow card (pictured left) while his colleague asks them to leave (pictured right)

Former Tory councillor purchases a home for his parents following PPE contracts 

Steve Dechan, owner of Platform-14, a supplier in pain-management devices, has reportedly bought a house for his parents after he was awarded £276million in government contracts for PPE. 

The former Tory councillor was reportedly awarded a £120million contract to supply masks in March and £156million in June to supply gowns and masks. 

Mr Dechan, 52, recently bought himself a £1.5million Grade II listed property in the Cotswolds, according to The Sunday Times. 

He is also believed to have purchased a £250,000 Cornwall home and a house for his parents worth £50,000 in Exeter during the course of the year. 

The agency, which reportedly supplied 127 investigators to IHAT, is owned by husband and wife Martin and Helen Jerrold. 

The IHAT probe, which cost around £50million, was criticised for the time it took to carry out the allegations and many of the accused were left in limbo over the outcome.

Former defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon, who closed down Ihat in 2017, said: ‘It is high time, far too many veterans and their families have been through years of worry on this.

‘This witch-hunt should never have been allowed in the first place and I am glad it looks finally to be over.’

A Red Snapper spokesman told The Sunday Telegraph: 'RSG is supplying a small number of workers to a small number of local authorities to fulfil the role of Covid marshal. We believe we are one supplier of many who are meeting this demand.' 

Earlier this month a Covid marshal showed lockdown flouters a yellow card and warned them police will be called if they break rules again.

Footage showed how the football punishment was used on a group of people who had been protesting by two officers wearing red hi-vis jackets.

It is believed to have been filmed in Stratford Park, Stroud, Gloucestershire, where dozens attended an anti-lockdown rally on November 7, which saw the organiser fined £10,000. 

So what powers DO Boris's army of Covid Secure Marshals have? 

Those breaking the rules can expect a £100 fine from police, which will then double on each repeat offence up to £3,200, with the Covid marshals also introduced in a bid to improve the enforcement capacity of local authorities. 

Some councils already had marshals who go to busy areas and give advice if people are not social distancing, even before the Prime Minister announced a wider roll out in September.

They also explain the rules, such as wearing a face mask on public transport.

They cannot fine people but they can alert the police. The move addressed concerns that police were struggling to enforce social-distancing rules because they applied differently in various circumstances.

Police have the power to arrest rule-breakers if needed, as well as fining them £100, which will then double on each repeat offence up to £3,200. 

Recently retired environmental health officers were also drafted in to enforce legislation at pubs and restaurants. 

The marshals help enforce social-distancing rules and ensure contact details of all customers are collected for the test and trace system.

They patrol parks, shopping centres, train stations and other areas where groups of people are likely to gather in larger numbers.  

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