David Watson

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David Watson is a former prison service governor who was centre manager of Yarl's Wood IRC for Group 4 in 2002 when a major fire occurred[1]

Watson says he has led "a number of successful large-scale projects in the Criminal Justice and Immigration fields, including prisons bids within the United Kingdom, Jamaica and Abu Dhabi; prisoner escorting; community interventions and resettlement projects; Immigration Removal Centres; Detainee escorting and Asylum Seeker Support." Watson also states that he has "contributed to policy development and policy implementation in the fields of criminal justice and immigration."[2]

Prison service

Watson joined the prison service in October 1984 until January 2001. He was a senior operational manager and worked in the Area Manager's office and was Deputy Head of Prison Service Training and Development. He rose to be a prison governor at HMP/YOI Onley. He claims he was involved in the recovery of three poor performing establishments and the commissioning of a new prison, as well as the re-roling of existing prisons.


Yarl's Wood

Watson was centre manager for G4S (then called Group 4) at the newly opened Yarl's Wood IRC from January 2001 to January 2003. He 'mobilised and implemented' the company's new contract. During his tenure, the centre was half-destroyed in a catastrophic fire.

Project director

Watson was promoted to be a project director for G4S Care & Justice division from January 2003 to August 2009. He says he was "Bid Director on a number of successful projects."

Reliance Secure Task Management

Watson was head of custody/business development director at Reliance Secure Task Management from August 2009 to November 2011, tasked with leading their "entry to the secure institutions/accommodation sector". Again, he says he was "Bid Director for successful projects."

In October 2010 the Home Office awarded Reliance with a contract to deport migrants. The contract had previously been run by G4S.[3]

The head of the UK Border Agency's Criminality and Detention group, David Wood, said: "Throughout the comprehensive tendering process, which began in September 2009, Reliance has demonstrated an ability to provide excellent service and its bid offers the best value for money. We want to thank all of the bidders in this tendering process, and G4S, which has provided this service over the past five years."

Reliance later had to give up the contract because it had underestimated how much it would cost.[4]


From December 2011 to April 2013, Watson was a self-employed bid director in the UK "actively seeking new challenges".

Parole Board

In December 2012 Watson became an independent member of the Parole Board, appointed by the UK secretary of state.


In May 2013, Watson became director of justice and health at Nacro in London. He is responsible for "development and leadership of interventions for adult and young offenders in prison and in the community and the delivery of substance misuse service across England and Wales."


  1. ''Yarl's Wood guards traumatised by ordeal'', Bedford Today, 22 March 2002
  2. 'David Watson', LinkedIn, accessed 30 June 2015
  3. 'Deportees get new escorts: Reliance', Corporate Watch, 10 November 2010
  4. 'Rival firms fight over deportation dividend', Corporate Watch, 5 September 2014