Police and prison officials who worked on a dedicated operation, tackling illicit items in prisons have praised the significant impact it has had.
Last week, officers from Doncaster’s Fortify Team focused on an intensive seven-day operation working in HMP Doncaster, Moorland and Lindholme, aimed at preventing illicit items from entering prisons.
Officers were joined by prison staff to look at tackling the four main ways illicit items are usually brought into prisons; by way of being thrown into the grounds, through the post or being brought in by visitors or staff members.
Detective Inspector Steve Smith, who leads Doncaster’s Fortify Team, said: “Despite the fact we were very open about what we were doing, promoting the operation in the media and telling both prison staff and the prisoners, we did see several visitors trying to bring illicit items in.
“Two people were arrested during the week, charged and remanded into custody. They were found to have tried to bring in items including mobile phones and tobacco.
“In addition to the enforcement element of the operation, we also spoke to hundreds of visitors and staff members around the dangers of bringing illicit items into prison as ultimately they could find themselves having a stint in prison.
“Staff and visitors were also searched, in addition to visitor vehicle checks carried out at each of the prisons.
“Our colleagues from the prison service supported us throughout the week with searches and we have already had lots of positive feedback from staff, including that staff felt supported in searches and that the operation was acting as a deterrent to anyone attempting to bring illicit items in.
“Despite the fact we were very open about what we were doing, promoting the operation in the media and telling both prison staff and the prisoners, we did see several visitors trying to bring illicit items in.
“Two people were arrested during the week, charged and remanded into custody. They were found to have tried to bring in items including mobile phones and tobacco."
- DI Steve Smith, Doncaster's Fortify Team
“In addition to support from the prison staff, we utilised the off-road bike team, mounted team and dedicated drone surveillance. The use of drones is to ensure that the perimeter of each prison remains secure and to identify any items being thrown into the grounds.
“Overall, the week was a success and I think we’ve left a significant impression on staff, visitors and prisoners, sending out a clear message that crime inside prisons will not be tolerated and if you’re found to be involved, you will be arrested.”
Jerry Spencer Serco Prison Director at HMP Doncaster said: “This has been a very successful week’s action and has clearly made a significant impression on everyone inside and outside the prison.
“As the week’s campaign comes to an end I would emphasise that we will continue to work hard to stop people smuggling drugs and phones into the prison using every means at our disposal and we will also continue to work closely with the police.”
Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said, “Police and prison staff are doing a fantastic job in helping to get rid of drugs and weapons in our jails, which is vital to changing prisoner behaviour and ultimately protecting the public.
“We are investing £14m in tackling organised crime in prison and are putting more and more resources into perimeter security, sniffer dogs and increased searching.”
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