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Prison Service: Corruption

House of Lords written question – answered on 20th July 2011.

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Photo of Lord Ramsbotham Lord Ramsbotham Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what anti-corruption measures and procedures are currently in place in the prison service; and what is their estimate of the level of corruption in the prison service.

Photo of Lord McNally Lord McNally Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS), in partnership with law enforcement agencies, is fully committed towards preventing, detecting and acting robustly against all forms of corrupt activity.

A dedicated corruption prevention unit (CPU) continues to work with regional corruption prevention managers, prisons and partner agencies to raise staff awareness, develop an understanding of the extent and nature of staff corruption and where practicable, to prosecute identified instances of corrupt behaviour. Each prison has an identified local corruption prevention manager with responsibility for raising awareness of the risks from corruption, helping staff in reporting and taking forward action in including working with the police in support of prosecution.

A joint memorandum of understanding was agreed between the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and NOMS in October 2008 and gives the primacy for investigating and prosecuting individual cases of staff corruption to the police. Where there is insufficient evidence to support police prosecution, NOMS uses internal disciplinary proceedings to take action, up to and including dismissal, of any member of staff who is found to be involved in corrupt activities

The majority of staff working in prisons perform their duties with the utmost professionalism and integrity. Criminal activity is by nature covert and difficult to quantify. No organisation, including the Prison Service, can provide accurate estimates of the level of corruption.

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