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‘ A Form of Questioning ’ Using witness screening questionnaires in mass-disorder. Detective Inspector Jez Prior 00 (44) 7876 790997

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‘A Form of Questioning’

Using witness screening questionnaires in mass-disorder

Detective Inspector Jez Prior

00 (44) 7876 790997

ACPO Approved Interview Adviser

[email protected]

the background
The Background
  • Ford Prison – Cat D minimal security ‘Open’ Prison
  • Located in West Sussex
  • Capacity about 550 prisoners
  • Strict No alcohol policy
new years eve 2011
New Years Eve 2011
  • Nearly 750 prisoners on site
  • Two prison officers & four security officers
  • ‘Party’ atmosphere in certain parts of the prison
  • At about 8pm prison officers try and administer a breath test for one of the inmates who they suspect was drunk
  • Inmates Chase prison officers away
  • Inmates go on the rampage
slide4

The Riot

  • Prison officers run from prison
  • Minority of prisoners go on rampage
  • Police called but back-off
  • Takes over 12 hours for 150 riot officers to re-gain control
  • No fatalities £5.1M damage
the investigation
The Investigation
  • No Forensic
  • No CCTV
  • No Suspects arrested
  • Was clear that eye-witness evidence would solve the case
  • Witness issues –
  • 750 prisoners
  • 150 prison officers
  • 50 fire fighters
  • 50 Police officers
the interview strategy
The Interview Strategy
  • Key issues
  • Identify significant witnesses
  • Obligations under CPIA – all reasonable lines of enquiry
  • Prisoners moved all round the country
  • How to deal with witnesses who were serving prisoners
questionnaires
Questionnaires
  • Bonuses – prison was a confined area
  • Information available that logged each of
  • All prisoners in Ford prison at time
  • All prison officers who attended
  • All fire fighters
  • All police officers
questionnaires1
Questionnaires
  • Four different types – one each for
  • Prisoners
  • Prison officers who attended riot
  • Fire fighters
  • Police Officers
questionnaires2
Questionnaires
  • Serving Prisoners…considerations

ABLE TO READ/WRITE?

UNTAINTED

ACCOUNT

PRISONERS

SAFE PLACE

INTIMIDATION

key to success
Key to Success
  • Prison Governor attached to the enquiry – advised on many aspects of safe access
  • Prison Governor advised on engagement with those who couldn’t read or write
  • Questionnaire went to every prisoner – so as to not identify a ‘grass’
  • Process identified 10 significant witnesses
  • Different tactics used to obtain accounts
outcome
Outcome
  • Eight prisoners gave evidence as witnesses at court
  • Five convicted of arson with intent to endanger life and for the first time ever – prison mutiny
  • All five received lengthy sentences
key messages
Key Messages
  • Questionnaires can be very productive – similar to house to house questionnaires frequently used - But not an excuse for laziness!
  • Keep questions open
  • Help witnesses de-taint themselves
  • Identify others who can help – prison governor / ISVA
slide14
Thank you
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