Se­cu­rity strength­ened at Pol­mont prison af­ter of­fend­ers scale walls

The Herald on Sunday - - NEWS - Ex­clu­sive by Peter Swin­don

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

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