UK first regional prison intelligence unit launched

Monday, 22 September, 2008

THE country's first Regional Prison Intelligence Unit was launched in the West Midlands this month (September) following the signing of an historic information-sharing agreement between the region's police forces and the prison service.

The move is set to see crime across the region tumble further as information-sharing protocols are established allowing vital intelligence on high risk criminals to flow between the organisations.

For the first time, police officers will be based within all of the regions prisons and work with prison officers to ascertain links between inmates and their contacts - both in and out of prison.

This information may then be used to infiltrate criminal networks, mount surveillance operations and direct the tactics used by officers in enforcement operations.

Speaking about the launch, Assistant Chief Constable Suzette Davenport of West Midlands Police said: "The work of the Regional Prison Intelligence Unit will ensure that information on high risk offenders is pooled so that a more accurate intelligence picture is gained.

"This enhanced insight into the regions criminal networks will allow us to ascertain links between prisoners and their contacts - both in and out of prison - and improve our ability to prevent and detect crime."

Sue McAllister, Regional Manager for HM Prison Service said: "HM Prison Service is delighted to be working with the four police forces of the West Midlands in this UK first.

"I believe that by forming this unique alliance, we are best able to safeguard the public and further reduce rates of re-offending."

The launch took place on Monday 15 September at West Midlands Police's Learning and Development Resource Centre in Birmingham and was attended by BCU commanders, prison governors and intelligence staff from across the region.

As part of the information-sharing agreement, those attending the launch will continue to meet to identify the criminal networks that will be investigated and discuss the nature of the intelligence required to stop their illegal activities.

Prisons participating in the initiative are: Birmingham, Brinsford, Dovegate, Drake Hall, Featherstone, Hewell, Long Lartin, Shrewsbury, Stafford, Stoke Heath, Swinfen Hall and Werrington.

Police Forces are: Staffordshire Police, Warwickshire Police, West Mercia Constabulary and West Midlands Police.

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