Police and prison working together to offer support

Ch Insp Helena Barron and Tony Simpson, HMP Northumberland Director at the prison.
Ch Insp Helena Barron and Tony Simpson, HMP Northumberland Director at the prison.

Police and prison staff are working together to improve support given to inmates and visitors at HMP Northumberland.

As part of this, two people were arrested on suspicion of drugs offences and from January, an officer will be dedicated to helping out at the Acklington-based unit, as well as offering support in nearby communities.

Over several years, neighbourhood police officers have built a strong relationship with the prison and regularly go in to work with staff and deal with any issues arising.

Police and prison staff are now working together more closely to engage with the whole prison community.

Earlier this month, police carried out a joint week of action with the prison.

Officers staffed a mobile police station outside the jail to greet prison visitors, offered support and information and worked alongside prison staff and the Northumberland Domestic Abuse Service to provide crime -prevention and safety advice.

As part of the week of action, motor-patrols units carried out a high-profile presence around the prison supporting the aim of making the jail a safe environment for prisoners and visitors alike.

As a result of the activity in and around the prison, 27 vehicles were stopped and more than 30 drivers and passengers were spoken to, with two people arrested on suspicion of drugs offences and two vehicles uplifted by officers for having no insurance.

The prison’s director Tony Simpson said: “Our priority is to run a safe and secure prison and reduce reoffending.

“Healthy family contact as part of a range of rehabilitation activity will always improve a prisoner’s chances of successfully reintegrating back into society upon release, so it’s important we work with the police to support visitors as much as possible.”

From January, a new neighbourhood officer – PC Vicky Kelly – will be dedicated to supporting the prison and residents in surrounding communities.

She said: “I am looking forward to getting to know the staff and finding out how we can provide the best support to the prison community.

“The prison is a significant part of our community and there is a need to provide a liaison role with local residents and the prison, which I will also be providing.”