A member of the Watchdog team for HMP Liverpool has been arrested over a Drugs Probe recently news has revealed.

The member who monitors conditions at HMP Liverpool has been suspended after allegedly delivering drugs and a mobile phone to a prisoner within the grounds, it was suspected this was done 6 weeks ago, however has not been charged.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) confirmed a member of the prison’s Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) had been “suspended pending the outcome of an ongoing police investigation”.

But a spokesperson added: “It would be inappropriate to comment further.”

IMB members, who are unpaid volunteers, are subject to the same vetting and checks as prison staff but references are not taken, according to the MoJ.

However, they have unrestricted access to their local prison and a right of access to every prisoner and part of the prison, and to the prison’s records. They can talk to any prisoner they wish to, out of sight and hearing of prison staff members.

The woman was detained on suspicion of conspiracy to convey prohibited articles into HMP Liverpool and misconduct in a public office.

She has been questioned and released under investigation.

Detective Inspector Tanya Kitchen, from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU), said: “We can confirm that following a joint investigation between Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service’s Counter Corruption Unit and NWROCU, a woman was arrested and temporarily suspended from duties. We will not tolerate corruption or the supply of illegal items to prisoners and will continue to work closely in partnership to ensure anyone who breaks the strict rules in place in our prisons is brought to justice.

“The majority of people working in our prisons are hardworking, honest individuals and we are committed to removing the harmful minority and deterring others from taking a path to criminality that will lose them their liberty and cause harm to others.”

Recent reports show that HMP Liverpool, a Victorian prison that serves men from the Merseyside area, was described by official inspectors as having the worst living conditions, and that it was very easy to obtain drugs.

A surprise inspection of the prison in September 2017 found it was infested with rats and that prisoners lived in squalid conditions.

The last report written by IMB members into conditions at the Merseyside prison, published in October 2020, said that prisoners had told members of the board that drugs were “readily available”.

From 2015 to October 2020, HM Prisons dismissed 43 staff over prohibited items, which can include drugs, tobacco and mobile phones. In 2020 alone, six HMP officers were dismissed, 23 outside staff were excluded, and 12 convictions and one caution were given.

The inquest is ongoing and no further comments have been made.

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