Number of prison officers convicted of corruption rockets by 600%


Number of prison officers convicted of corruption rockets by 600% since dedicated investigation team was set up but former Belmarsh governor warns ‘it’s just the tip of the iceberg’

  • Ministry of Justice stopped 20,000 attempts to smuggle contraband into prison
  • In 14 months  there were 65 convictions of staff out of 143 cases, with 42 jailed
  • Ex-Gov of Belmarsh said: ‘Even with these convictions, it’s the tip of the iceberg.’

There has been a sixfold increase in the number of prison officers convicted on corruption charges since a specialist investigation unit was set up.

In 14 months to January, there were 65 convictions of staff out of 143 cases, with 42 jailed. There were just ten successful prosecutions of 123 cases in the year after the unit was formed with 29 staff in April 2019.

Offences include supplying Class A drugs to prisoners and smuggling in banned items.

John Podmore, ex-governor of Belmarsh Jail, said: ‘It’s the tip of the iceberg.

‘The number of investigators is key. The more you have, the more you’ll catch.’

The number of prison officers convicted on corruption charges has increased by 600 per cent following the establishment to a specialist investigate unit. 

Figures released under Freedom of Information legislation show that in 14 months to January there were 65 convictions of staff out of 143 cases. 

The Ministry of Justice have invested £100 million to bolster prison security and clamp down on the contraband Pictured: Belmarsh Prison

The Ministry of Justice have invested £100 million to bolster prison security and clamp down on the contraband Pictured: Belmarsh Prison

The penalties included 42 custodial sentences, 17 suspended sentences, five court fines and one community sentence. 

By comparison, the first year following the unit’s establishment in April 2019 saw just 10 successful prosecutions of 123 cases Offences include supplying Class A drugs to prisoners, smuggling in banned items and misconduct in public office. 

Among those convicted included guard Jack Nichols, 29, who was last year jailed for one year and four months after he was paid £4,000 by an inmate to smuggle cannabis and tobacco into HMP Stocken, Rutland.

 Stephanie Smithwhite, 41, who had sex with drug lord Curtis ‘Cocky’ Warren at Frankland Prison, Co Durham, was jailed for two years in 2020. 

Joshua Bossman-Brandt, 40, was jailed for six years and nine months for smuggling Class A drugs and an Xbox One into HMP Coldingley in Surrey. 

John Podmore, former governor of Belmarsh Prison, said: ‘Even with these convictions, it’s the tip of the iceberg. ‘The key is getting the number of investigators – the more you have the more you’ll catch.’ 

The anti-corruption unit was established with 29 specialist staff in five regional teams. The Prison Service also funds 20 full-time police investigators across the country. 

Last month the Ministry of Justice revealed that in two years it had thwarted almost 20,000 attempts to smuggle contraband onto prison wings including a haul of 81 wraps of crack cocaine with the help of 70 new cutting-edge X-ray body scanners.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: ‘The vast majority of prison officers are hardworking, dedicated and honest but our taskforce is helping make sure anyone who breaks the rules is rooted out and punished. 

‘We have invested £100 million to bolster prison security and clamp down on the contraband that fuel violence and crime behind bars.’ 

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