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Prison officer left injured after riot at Stocken Prison in Rutland




A prison officer has been injured during a seven-hour riot at HMP Stocken.

Violence erupted at about 5pm on Saturday (January 18) in one wing of the category C prison in Stretton.

During the disturbance an officer was attacked from behind by a prisoner wielding a pool ball in a sock, causing the officer concussion.

Stocken Prison
Stocken Prison

The officer was taken to hospital to be treated.

Specially trained prison officers were deployed and order was restored at about midnight.

The Prison Officers’ Association said intelligence suggested the disturbance was premeditated.

Those believed to be responsible have been placed on report while an investigation is carried out by Leicestershire Police.

About 18 prisoners were transferred to other prisons in the aftermath of the riot and the wing is being assessed for damage.

Chairman of the independent monitoring board for Stocken Prison, Ruth Bray, said: “It was a very isolated incident.

“Specially trained officers were called in and it was very speedily dealt with. It takes time for the officers to come from other establishments and the national team were there as well. By midnight, all of the men were back in their cells.”

She added members of the independent monitoring board were present throughout and it was their view the riot was dealt with in a ‘very professional manner’.

However, national chairman of the Prison Officers’ Association, Mark Fairhurst said that if prison staff were equipped with PAVA - similar to pepper spray - then the disorder would have been easier to end.

He said: “The levels of violence and the incidents my members have dealt with since the beginning of the year highlight the need to issue the vital protective equipment staff have been waiting for since October 2018 without delay.

“Having spoken to staff involved in this incident it is clear that if PAVA had been carried the incident would never have escalated.

“Asking prison officers to do their job effectively is like asking a firefighter to quell a blaze without a hose and water. Staff should not be placed at risk daily due to a reluctance to roll out measures that could prevent these incidents occurring.”

A spokesman for the prison service said that investment was being made to give staff body-worn cameras, police-style restraints and PAVA pepper spray “to allow them to do their jobs more safely”.

It is not the first time that the ‘training and resettlement’ prison close to the A1 in Rutland has seen outbreaks of disorder.

Extensive damage was done to K-wing in June 2015 with prisoners smashing lights, breaking CCTV equipment and setting fires while using furniture to barricade themselves inside. Two prisoners were sentenced for their role in that mutiny.

Last year HMP Stocken was found to be ‘safe and well run’ by prison inspectors, despite two being found dead in their cells in October 2018, and a third inmate death in January 2019.

Drug discoveries were also recorded to have increased from 85 to 347, and there were 153 assaults on prisoners and 80 assaults on staff.

Category C prisons are for inmates who cannot be trusted in open prison, but who have been recognised as being unlikely to make any attempt to
escape.

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