Security strengthened at Polmont prison after offenders scale walls
SCOTLAND’S biggest jail for young offenders is increasing security amid concerns about criminals scaling internal walls.
The prison near Polmont has ordered five new state-of-the-art CCTV cameras to be installed around the perimeter.
High-powered LED lights will also be purchased to provide a “four-metre strip around the complete external perimeter,” according to documents seen by The Herald on Sunday.
A prison spokesman said the increased security was prompted by incidents which saw young offenders clamber on top of eight-feet, high covered walkways which connect buildings on the estate.
Many inmates are known to use illegal drugs which can be thrown over prison walls. One-third of inmates in Scottish jails tested positive for banned substances ahead of their release, according to the Scottish Prison Service figures.
One prison governor said there are “productive ways of putting things into prisons”. Ian Whitehead, who was gover- nor of Barlinnie before becoming director of Addiewell, said in 2014 that banned substances have been found in tennis balls, volleyballs and plastic Kinder Surprise eggs which have been lobbed over perimeter fences.
Seven members of a gang which used drones to fly more than £500,000 worth of drugs into prisons in England were jailed on Friday.
The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) plans to buy five new pan- tilt- zoom ( PTZ) cameras capable of remote directional control which will be fixed to the outside of the perimeter wall.
SPS documents seen by The Herald on Sunday said: “HMYOI Polmont requires increased CCTV surveillance exterior to the perimeter wall.”
The documents also reveal plans to install “increased lighting external to the perimeter”.
“External perimeter lighting shall provide a well-lit area in the form of a four-metre strip around the complete external perimeter,” the document said. “The perimeter lighting shall provide both a safe route for inspection of the perimeter, and increased lighting to facilitate external CCTV camera operation.”
When The Herald on Sunday asked the SPS whether the changes to security had been prompted by concerns about drugs coming over the perimeter fence a spokesman said: “The issue is people climbing on internal covered walkways. It’s about preventing people going on walkways and having a better visibility of those areas if they do get up there.”
Security is being increased at Polmont