Intense week of action tackling illicit items in Doncaster prisons

Date published: 11 April 2019 15:24
Dated: 11 April 2019 16:16:04

Today (Thursday 11 April), officers from Doncaster’s Fortify Team and staff from three of the town’s prisons will begin a high visibility operation tackling illegal items being brought into the jails.

The operation, which is the first of its kind, will run for seven days and will see officers on site every day at HMP Doncaster, Moorland and Lindholme focusing on preventing illicit items such as drugs and mobile phones from getting into the buildings.

Detective Inspector Steve Smith, who leads Doncaster’s Foritfy Team, said: “There are four main ways that illicit items can get into our prisons, and that’s either by way of posting items to prisoners, coming over the wall, being brought in through visits and also by staff members.

“Every day for the next seven days we will be on site, carrying out patrols of the perimeter of each prison, utilising drugs dogs and the off-road bike team. We will also be making the most of the force’s new drone capability and assisting prison staff with searches.

“If you’re visiting the prison, you will see more police officers outside the entrance, and inside the visitors hall. Your vehicle may be searched and you may also be required to be searched as part of the operation as you enter the visitors area.

“If you’re coming to visit a loved one, my message is simple, don’t bring illicit items in. If you do, these items will be found, they will be seized and you will be arrested. Ultimately you could find yourself joining your loved one in prison.

“We will be incredibly overt with what we are doing this week; sending a message to both staff and prisoners. We want to make it clear that our commitment to tackling crime in prisons, and supporting prison staff, is a priority.

“Ultimately, we want to ensure the safety of staff inside the prison but also the prisoners, as while items we typically see being conveyed in include drugs and mobile phones, weapons can also be brought in.

“We want to prevent any staff or prisoners from coming to harm and continue to work in close partnership with prison staff in relation to this.”

Jerry Spencer, Serco Prison Director at HMP Doncaster, said: “We are delighted to be working with South Yorkshire Police on this week of action to stop people smuggling contraband into the prison.

“Drugs bring misery into prisons and threaten the safety of everyone there, particularly our hard working staff, the prisoners in our care and their families and we are doing everything in our power to combat this criminal activity.”

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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