Suffolk: Investigation Into Armed Escape Ordered

An investigation's been ordered into how a prisoner escaped when two guards were threatened with a gun at a hospital.

After a prisoner escaped from a hospital when two guards were threatened with a gun, an investigation into how it happened has been ordered.

26 year old Andrew Farndon got away from the West Suffolk in Bury St Edmunds in January, and was caught up in Scotland.

Its part of two investigations after recent armed ambushes enabled prisoners to escape in West Suffolk and Worcestershire, deputy Lords leader Lord McNally has confirmed.

At question time, he said a formal investigation had been started into the circumstances surrounding two escapes last month.
A wider review was also under way into "procedures governing the escorting of prisoners outside of prisons, including the arrangements for transporting prisoners''.

Lord McNally told peers the National Offender Management Service had taken immediate action to ``reinforce security procedures'' and staff had been instructed to ensure they were fully complied with.

He said the use of guns in the escapes was ``extremely worrying'' and promised lessons would be learned.

His comments came after a prisoner charged with murder over a fatal shooting escaped following an armed ambush near Bromsgrove, Worcestershire.

In the second incident, police launched a manhunt following the escape of a prisoner from a West Suffolk hospital after an accomplice threatened prison officers with a gun.

Labour former minister Baroness Smith of Basildon said the armed ambushes were ``very shocking'' and urged ministers to look at the categorisation of prisoners.

Former chief inspector of prisons for England and Wales and independent crossbencher Lord Ramsbotham asked if the inspectorate of prisons and inspectorate of the security industry were looking into the wider impact of the escapes.

Lord McNally said the inquiry would go ``far wider'', looking at both the public and private sector.