Gangs ‘are infiltrating prison service’
CRIMINAL gangs are infiltrating the prison service to smuggle contraband such as drugs into jails, a senior police officer believes.
Assistant Chief Constable Jason Hogg, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead on prison intelligence, said he feared organised criminals were getting their associates or family members jobs with the intention of sneaking illegal items behind bars.
He said he “strongly suspects” gangs are infiltrating the prison service, but explained it was difficult to prove, as previous cases had not led to links being exposed.
“There are some examples of staff, very soon after they work in that prison estate, whether it’s as a prison officer or a maintenance worker, if you like, they move towards supplying contraband,” Mr Hogg said.
Mark Fairhurst, the national chairman of the Prison Officers Association, said it was “very easy” to traffic drugs and other illicit items into prisons, with officers rarely searched.
“We have got intelligence to suggest people – prison officers and civilian staff – have been targeted and recruited by criminal gangs to get drugs into prisons,” he said.
“It’s very rare. Less than one per cent of our staff are corrupt, but it does happen.”