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Prison warders may get body cameras for protection

By Noel McAdam

Published 30/11/2016

Prison warders in Northern Ireland could be given body cameras after it was revealed they have been the victims of more than 350 assaults over the last four years
Prison warders in Northern Ireland could be given body cameras after it was revealed they have been the victims of more than 350 assaults over the last four years

Prison warders in Northern Ireland could be given body cameras after it was revealed they have been the victims of more than 350 assaults over the last four years.

Justice Minister Claire Sugden told the Assembly that overcrowding was believed to be the main reason for the violence.

She told MLAs: "In 2013 there were 94 assaults on prison officers on duty in prison establishments in Northern Ireland; in 2014 there were 105 assaults recorded; in 2015 there were 100 assaults recorded, and, to the end of October this year, there have been 58 assaults on staff.

"From an operational perspective, the Northern Ireland Prison Service has found that the greatest contributing factor to assaults is crowding."

Ms Sugden said she had asked the Prison Service to consider deploying cameras more widely to deter violent or disruptive prisoners.

And she added that the Prison Service "is evaluating the effectiveness of body-worn cameras for prison staff to prevent violence and assist in the management of disruptive prisoners".

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