Whitemoor Prison riot: six officers taken to hospital with range of injuries after being attacked on C wing. Elite enforcement squad called in.
PUBLISHED: 22:51 25 February 2019 | UPDATED: 22:51 25 February 2019
An elite enforcement squad was deployed to Whitemoor Prison, March, today to quell a mini riot in which six prison officers were left bruised and battered and in need of hospital treatment.
The trouble flared on C wing and lasted for two hours before it was brought under control.
Some of those staff members injured at the prison were beaten by pool cues and had pool balls thrown at them
The disturbance has been described as a “major incident” by sources, who say one staff member was left with a split nose and the other hit with a “flying pool ball”.
A source told this newspaper that all six were taken to hospital with “bad bruises and numerous injuries”. “One got hit straight in the eye,” they added.
Tornado teams are units of elite officers specially trained to handle disorder in prisons and are being increasingly used to quell outbreaks of violence by prisoners.
The units usually number around 50 officers who are protected by shields and are trained in the use of an American-style baton.
A Freedom of Information request two years ago revealed tornado squads were being called out on average up to eight times a week across UK prison.
The violence at Whitemoor today saw renewed calls from the Prison Officers’ Association for the rapid roll out of Pava to all officers; this is a pepper spray being trialled in several prisons.
One prison officers’ association official tweeted tonight that ten staff were assaulted at Long Lartin over the weekend and that was on top of the six currently receiving hospital treatment after an incident at Whitemoor.
“We were told after our action in September that Pava would be rolled out across the prison estate as a matter of urgency. We are still waiting,” he tweeted.
Another officer tweeted that there were now serious health and safety concerns for all staff “particularly when taking the violence stats into account
“How many staff will be assaulted during this prolonged roll out? How many of these assaults could be prevented if HMPPS were more proactive? A caring employer?”
The Government has been trialling Pava – a synthetic incapacitant pepper spray – at a handful of prisons but insist it is only used “in exceptional circumstances.”
The Prison Reform Trust has urged caution and says in the long term it will be more harm than good to relationships between officers and prisoners.
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