A prison-style training manual produced by the company contracted to run Australia's detention centres contains explicit instructions on how to "hit" and "strike" asylum seekers. The 400-page, illustrated 2010 and 2009 Serco induction training documents, obtained by Crikey, shows how prison staff are trained to kick, punch and jab their fingers into detainee limbs and "pressure points" to render them motionless.

Serco, which has a $1 billion contract with the Gillard government to run nine asylum outposts, has repeatedly fought the release of similar documents, claiming other versions are not in the "public interest" and could cause commotion inside lockups. (Read the full manual here). The "control and restraint" techniques included in the 2009 training course manual recommends the use of "pain" to defend, subdue and control asylum seekers through straight punches, palm heel strikes, side angle kicks, front thrust kicks and knee strikes. "Subdue the subject using reasonable force so that he/she is no longer in the assailant category," it explains. "If justified, necessary force is to be used to bring the subject to cooperative subjective status whereupon they respond favourably to verbalisation." Under a section headed "principles in controlling Resistive Behaviour", guards are told to cause pain, stun, distract, unbalance and use "striking technique" to cause "motor dysfunction". Guards are told to target specific "pressure points" in the manner of riot squad police to squeeze nerves as " a valuable subject control option". "They enhance your ability, to compel compliance from unco-operative subjects," it explains. The "expected effect" is "medium to high level pain". In one instance, guards, referred to by the government and Serco as "Client Services Officers", are taught to attack detainees' jugulars to cause them to fall over. In another, they are told to employ a "downward kick" to the "lower shin" to cause "high level of pain and mental stunning" lasting up to seven seconds. Batons are a useful weapon for guards to cause "medium to high tensity [sic] pain" and "forearm muscle cramping". "Strikes should be delivered by a hammer fist," it says. Underpinning the kicking and punching and baton instructions is "two forms of strikes". The "cutting strike" using a baton, "impacts" the detainee, "continuing through in one fluid motion ... this could be equated to following through when swinging a bat". The Fluid Shock Wave principle is employed to "...generate optimum fluid shock with a hand, baton or knee". The language in the document appears to have been inspired by a prison manual -- Serco also operates the Acacia prison 60 kilometres east of Perth. This morning, Fairfax Media reported the Immigration Department had developed its policy on media access by consulting the United States' rules for Guantanamo Bay. Serco subcontracts some of its security personnel to Indian-owned security behemoth MSS. It is not known whether the training manual has since been updated.