Visitor numbers down since introduction of sniffer dog at Doncaster prisons

Visitor numbers at Doncaster prisons are down since the introduction of a sniffer dog to root out those trying to pass illicit items to inmates.

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 2:38 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 11:05 am
A sniffer dog is being used at Doncaster prisons

Police dog Rosco has been used by police officers during visitor searches at Doncaster prisons to identify trying to smuggle drugs, phones, weapons and tobacco inside.

Since the dog was brought in as part of visitor search operations, prison visit numbers have dropped by a third.

Detective Inspector Steve Smith, who leads the Operation Fortify team responsible for the crackdown, said: “We know that when illicit articles are brought into a prison, it can put both staff and inmates at risk and lead to serious, violent crime.“Earlier this week, my staff have been at HMP Lindholme and Marshgate, as they usually are, dropping in on visits to assist staff with searches and to send a clear message that if someone is trying to bring an illicit item into the prison, then you are going to be identified and arrested.“This was the case on Thursday, when a male and a juvenile were arrested for attempting to bring a prohibited article into prison.“Several people were also refused entry after Rosco indicated that they might have had something they shouldn’t in their possession.”

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He added: “While I’m pleased to say that other than the two arrested, we didn’t find anyone trying to smuggle anything in, we did notice that only a third of booked visits turned up.

“To me, that shows we’re having a positive effect on visits and getting our message across.

“We welcome and actively encourage people to visit their loved ones in prison, but what we won’t tolerate is anyone trying to bring them something which could put prisons staff and other inmates in danger.”