Gangs ‘are in­fil­trat­ing prison ser­vice’

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Uk&world News -

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.”

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