Prisoners encouraged to speak out

POLICE are hoping a new initiative allowing prisoners to dial Crimestoppers from behind bars without anyone being able to trace them will prove a success.

Tuesday, 9th October 2007, 10:48 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th October 2007, 10:52 am

In partnership with the Prison Authority and the Yorkshire Area Search Team, which tries to prevent drugs, contraband substances and banned items getting into jails, Crimestoppers has set up a unique pin number for prisoners to use every time they want to pass on information.

Normally, prison staff can monitor calls and know what numbers inmates have dialled, but the new pin number makes it impossible to identify callers.

It has already led to over 100 calls from behind bars from Yorkshire prisons.

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DC Mosley said one of the aims of the initiative is to stop people smuggling phones and drugs into jails and to tap into the wealth of information criminals have.

"Prisoners have a wealth of information about the criminal fraternity and what is happening both behind bars and on the outside. Not just who is smuggling drugs and phones inside but who is involved with crimes on the outside," he added. "A motive for a prisoner to call could be that they are concerned about a relative getting mixed up in drugs for example, so they could call us and tell us who is dealing to them.

"There is a hierarchy among criminals and while some find some offences acceptable, there are others they find totally unacceptable, so if they hear about them and who is involved we would hope they would pass that information on to us."

On the outside, Crimestoppers has started posting leaflets to homes in communities where there are specific problems, hoping to encourage more people to come forward with information to help police piece together exactly what is happening and who is involved.

The charity is preparing to target a number of areas across the county where the theft of metal is been a problem.

Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. To find out who police want to trace in your area visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org/wanted and type in your postcode. The site has around 4 million hits a year.