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Prison officers say 3m investment in security ‘no replacement for staff’

The Prison Officers Association has told Sky News equipment is “no replacement for staff,” as the Government unveils a 3m investment in new technology to protect prison guards. The investment comes amid an increase in violence against prison officers and disturbances inside jails. Two million pounds will be spent on 5,600 body-worn cameras which will be made available to prison guards in England and Wales, following the successful roll-out of the cameras among 22,000 Metropolitan Police officers last October. Plans announced by the Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah also include 1m for new police-style handcuffs and restraints, which will reduce the need for staff to use physical holds to control aggressive prisoners. Four prisons – HMP Wealstun, HMP Risley, HMP Preston and HMP Hull – will also trial PAVA incapacitant spray, similar to pepper spray, to boost officer safety.

Image: Two prison officers were seriously injured last year at Wormwood Scrubs in west London

Mr Gyimah said: “Prison officers do an incredibly hard job . Assaults on prison officers are up 34% in the last year . Of course prison officers have got to be professional at all times but where these cameras could make a real difference is with prosecutions and also deterring assaults against prison officers.

“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.” The Prison Officers Association welcomed the introduction of the new safety measures, but told Sky News the central issue remains the number of guards. In a statement, the union said: “Whilst we welcome protective measures such as PAVA spray and body worn cameras nothing can replace correct and safe staffing levels.

“The 30% cut to staff since 2010 and the increase in violence and riots during that period still has to be addressed and equipment is no replacement for staff.” The Government says 1,290 extra prison officers have been recruited, but admits that number is below its own target of 2,500. Former convict John Hirst told Sky News there needs to be a more widespread reform of the prison system.

He said: “What they need to do is improve conditions . Some of the prisons are still Victorian and they still use Victorian prison rules. “If you keep dehumanising prisoners when you put them into the system in the first place, how do you think they are going to behave?”

The Government says 10m has already been given to priority prisons to ramp up additional security measures including 24-hour patrol dogs, CCTV cameras, mobile phone detection technology and metal detectors.

Security guard ‘hit over the head’ and robbed at resort supermarket

Published: 10:23 Tuesday 17 October 2017

A security guard was hit over the head by a robber while delivering cash to Morrisons this morning, police said.

The man, who works for private firm G4S, was targeted while making a delivery to the supermarket, in Squires Gate Lane, South Shore, at around 9.20am. “The offenders have grabbed a cash cassette from his hand and made off in a white car,” a force spokeswoman said in a statement. Detectives were called to the scene, while the white Hyundai i20 was found in nearby Sandon Place.1

The scene of the robbery was cordoned off, with police tape stretched around a blue G4S security van. A spokeswoman for the North West Ambulance Service did not find any record of an ambulance being called to the crime scene. Gareth Skinner, head of operational risk for G4S Cash Solutions, said: “One of our cash crews was the victim of a brazen attack during a routine service on Squires Gate Lane in Blackpool . Fortunately our colleague has not suffered any serious injuries but understandably he has been shaken by the attack.

“We are working closely with Lancashire Police and I would urge anyone who may have been nearby and seen this attack to get in touch with the police or dial 101 so that those behind it can be brought to justice. Morrisons has been approached for a comment.


References

  1. ^ Detectives were called to the scene, while the white Hyundai i20 was found in nearby Sandon Place. (www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk)

Las Vegas shooting: Security guard who led police to gunman Stephen Paddock has ‘vanished’

The security guard who led police to Las Vegas1 shooter Stephen Paddock2 has vanished, his union president said.

Jesus Campos3 had been due to break his media silence following the devastating attack on a music festival that left 58 dead. But the night before his interviews were due to take place he disappeared, according to David Hickey of the Security, Police, and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA). Mr Hickey said he later received a message saying Mr Campos had been taken to urgent care facility UMC Quick Care, according to Fox News4.

“For the past four days he’s been preparing.. . we had a meeting with MGM officials, and after that meeting was over, we talked about the interviews, we went to a private area, and when we came out, Mr Campos was gone, Mr Hickey said.

“Right now I’m just concerned where my member is, and what his condition is . It’s highly unusual .

I’m hoping everything is OK with him and I’m sure MGM or the union will let (media) know when we hear something.”

A spokesperson for UMC Quick Care say they had “heard nothing” about Mr Campos attending one of their centres. Mr Campos was shot as he approached the 32nd floor suite of the Mandalay Bay hotel, from where 64-year-old gunman Paddock was firing customised automatic weapons into crowds at a festival below. After raising the alarm with police, Mr Campos reportedly remained nearby, helping to evacuate rooms on the same floor before being ordered to leave himself.

He was hit in the right leg by a bullet and was due to be operated on . His injuries were not believed to be serious. Mr Campos was hailed a hero for raising the alarm, and received a union award in the wake of the attack.

But he has also found himself at the centre of conspiracy theories surrounding the shooting.5

Internet forums went into overdrive after police revised the timeline of the shooting after the attack. Online sleuths claimed entirely without basis that Mr Campos was somehow involved in the massacre. Some say they have even visited Mr Campos’ house, and are poring through his online footprint in an attempt to make their theories stick.

False reports have attempted to blame him for the attack, reviving conspiracy theories about there being another shooter on the night of the attack, which have been rejected by police.

Las Vegas Shooting: Security Guard Who Led Police To Gunman Stephen Paddock Has 'vanished'Reuse content6

References

  1. ^ Las Vegas (www.independent.co.uk)
  2. ^ Stephen Paddock (www.independent.co.uk)
  3. ^ Jesus Campos (www.independent.co.uk)
  4. ^ Fox News (www.foxnews.com)
  5. ^ centre of conspiracy theories surrounding the shooting. (www.independent.co.uk)
  6. ^ Reuse content (www.independent.co.uk)