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Body-worn cameras rolled out to improve prison officer safety

The UK government is investing £3m in new technology such as wearable cameras to improve safety in jails.

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The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) revealed every prison officer in England and Wales now has access to a body-worn video camera following a £2m investment in 5,600 of the devices. 

A further £1m is being spent on “police style” rigid bar handcuffs and restraints to reduce the need for staff to use physical holds to control aggressive prisoners. 

Four prisons - HMP Hull, HMP Preston, HMP Risley and HMP Wealstun - will also trial the use of an incapacitant spray called PAVA (pelargonic acid vanillylamide), which is similar to pepper spray, for dealing with violent offenders. 

Prisons minister Sam Gyimah said the new measures would help improve safety across the prison estate. He said: “I am absolutely determined to tackle head-on the issues that undermine the safety and security of our prisons and to ensure our dedicated officers have the tools they need to do the job.

“This latest investment underlines our commitment to transform our prisons into places of safety and reform and should send a clear message to those intent on thwarting our efforts to make progress that we will do everything in our power to stop them.” 

The MoJ said the body-worn cameras would record incidents, acting both as a deterrent and evidence in prosecutions. They have been rolled out after successful trials in 22 establishments and their deployment by the Metropolitan Police to more than 22,000 frontline officers last October. 

The investment comes on top of £10m already given to governors at priority prisons for more patrol dogs, closed circuit TV cameras, mobile phone detection technology and metal detectors. 

 

Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

Comments

  • About time, most prisons have

    Permalink Submitted by Nigel Bown on 27 October 2017 - 02:29 pm

    About time, most prisons have general area CCTV cameras with full coverage in the segregation unit, as a former Prison safety officer the issue of allegations against staff for excessive violence by in mates was difficult to prove one way or another.
    The use of Rigid cuffs should enable better control of violet inmates
    I am not sure about the use of incapacatent sprays in prison due to the close proximity of so many staff and other inmates. if the Prisons minister is serious he would reverse the cuts to front line officers who are the best way of maintaining control, and look again at the changes to the retirement ages of officers imagine if you will a wing of up to 300 inmates being staffed by 15 prison officers all over 60

    reply

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