Monday, January 29, 2007

Prisoners now control Belmarsh

GUARDS at top security Belmarsh jail have been told to call inmates by their first names and back off in violent situations to create a "cosy, friendly atmosphere".

The jail holds some of the country's most notorious prisoners including terrorists, killers and gangsters.

Hook-handed hate preacher Abu Hamza is among those locked up there.

But in a stormy staff meeting governor Claudia Strutt banned the use of control and restraint techniques - known as C&R - unless there's a riot.

In a further effort to "improve relations" some staff have also been issued with name badges and told to wear polo shirts instead of traditional uniforms after some inmates complained they found them "too intimidating".

Previously, officers could restrain an inmate if they believed it would prevent a fight, if they refused to go to their cell, or for their own safety.

The source explained: "A prisoner may create absolute hell and come up into officers' faces and act in a threatening manner. Usually officers would restrain them using minimum force and put them in their cell. Now officers have to simply walk away.

The insider revealed: "The governor said, 'I want no questions or complaints, there have been too many C&Rs. You're not allowed to do it anymore. From now on you must back off'.

"It got quite stormy, officers made it clear they weren't happy, but the governor wouldn't listen."

The source claimed: "This is all about manipulating figures. A report goes to the Prison Service HQ every month detailing how many C&Rs there have been.

"If that figure goes down it will look like Belmarsh is under control and all of the prisoners are behaving themselves."

It’s nice to see that the prisoners are in control of the prison.

It seems to me that the governor is only doing it to manipulate the figures. Why does he have to reports these C&Rs anyway? What useful purpose could they serve? There is no need. Get rid of the paperwork and you save money too.


Simon said...

Why does he have to..

Probably because "he" is called Claudia and therefore has a few personal issues to resolve ;-)

Flippancy aside, this is a very scary story but all too predictable. This sort of thing seems so ingrained in the Civil Service nowadays that it's hard to imagine *any* Government being able to break the mould.

Truly we live in desperate times.

alanorei said...

Eventually a line will have to be drawn in the sand, or chalked on the concrete or whatever.

In this particular instance, the prison officers should extend a vote of no confidence in the prison governor for a start.

Clearly, she knows nothing about governing prisoners.

Probably, in the words of the Chairman, another sociology graduate without any sense.