Riot squads quell inmate rampage at Peterhead jail

Peterhead prison . Picture: TSPL
Peterhead prison . Picture: TSPL
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RIOT teams were drafted in to quell a 14-hour disturbance involving dozens of prisoners at Scotland’s newest jail.

Forty-one inmates were involved in the incident at “super-jail” HMP Grampian in Peterhead after refusing to return to their cells on Tuesday night.

Prison officers, supported by police, brought the incident under control yesterday morning after trained negotiators and riot teams were deployed.

Ambulances were spotted outside the prison and the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) said that some of the inmates involved may be moved to other prisons.

HMP Grampian opened at the beginning of March as a replacement for HMP Peterhead and HMP Aberdeen. The jail is the first Scottish prison to house men, women and young offenders in the same building.

A spokeswoman for the SPS said: “The incident has been concluded following the intervention of prison staff. There will be an investigation into the events of Tuesday night.

“We are assessing the levels of damage done and if the damage is very serious then some of the prisoners may have to move to more suitable accommodation.”

There was some damage to fixtures and fittings but no reports of any injuries, the SPS said. The incident took place in the prison’s Ellon Hall and continued in the unit overnight.

Staff quickly sealed off the area after prisoners refused to go to their cells and started vandalising furniture.

A police spokesman said:

“Officers were at the scene responding to the incident in support of the Scottish Prison Service.”

The latest disturbance comes just two weeks after protesting prisoners were involved in a two-hour stand-off with guards at the jail. During the incident on 29 April, a group of about four inmates refused to leave the prison hall.

Councillor Alan Buchan said residents living nearby were concerned about security at the new prison. He said: “It seems to be an ongoing problem. This has followed on from several other similar incidents.

“I think the lack of security in the prison has become a big issue, frankly, because it’s so open plan and there’s so much emphasis going on prisoner comfort rather than security.

“By the time the incident happens, it’s usually a day or two before you find out. We’ve never got to the bottom of what did happen with the other incidents. There seems to be a very much keep it quiet, behind closed doors attitude. If there’s so much disturbance going on, is there a possibility of people actually breaking out of the prison?”

HMP Peterhead, one of the prisons HMP Grampian replaced, is infamous for being the site of an SAS raid to put down a riot in 1987.