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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Haverigg Prison staff in sex act probe

AN investigation is under way at Haverigg Prison following allegations that two employees committed a lewd act while on duty.

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The Ministry of Justice, which runs the prison, has launched a probe following allegations that a male and female officer engaged in a sex act while on a patrol of the site.

The Evening Mail can also reveal a member of staff has left their position at the prison following allegations of an inappropriate relationship with an inmate.

A member of staff at the prison, who did not wish to be named, told the Evening Mail they were “disgusted” by the incidents.

The source said: “I’m disgusted by the hypocrisy.

“We have meetings about decency and respect all the time but this really makes you think.”

It is alleged a male and female officer were on a fence patrol in a prison vehicle when they were caught on CCTV engaging in a lewd act.

A Prison Service spokesman said: “HMP Haverigg is conducting an investigation.”

Regarding the allegation that a prison officer had an inappropriate relationship with a prisoner, the spokesman said: “A prison officer resigned from HMP Haverigg following allegations of inappropriate behaviour with a prisoner.

“We take such allegations very seriously and staff who break the rules are liable to be dismissed.”

HMP Haverigg was unable to comment on either incident but Governor Martin Farquhar previously told the Evening Mail his priority for the prison was to improve decency among staff and inmates.

Speaking in July, he said: “Our priority for the next 12 months is focusing on decency, making staff and ourselves look at our behaviour. Conditions of staff are a local priority but the measure we use for prisoners is; if you had a son or daughter in prison would you like them to be treated like that.”

The HM Prison Service Conduct and Discipline guidelines state: “Staff must exercise particular care to ensure that their dealings with prisoners, former prisoners and their friends and relations are not open to abuse, misrepresentation or exploitation on either side.

“Staff relationships with prisoners must be professional.

“In particular staff must not . . . have any sexual involvement with a prisoner.

“Staff must not bring discredit on the Prison Service through their conduct on or off duty.”

The document states any officer found to be in breach of the code will be subject to disciplinary action.

The news comes a week after the prison was found to have clamped down hard on drug and weapon problems.

The number of drugs and weapons seized in HMP Haverigg has more than halved over the past two-and-a-half years.

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