Police officer 'stabbed' at Swaleside Prison on Isle of Sheppey

Firefighters were also called to the scene

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The Independent Online

A police officer is believed to have been stabbed during an incident at Swaleside Prison on the Isle of Sheppey on Friday.

Trouble in the category B prison began at around 5.22pm, according to Police, and at least two fire crews were called to reports of a blaze at the facility, Kent Online reported.

Ambulance crews treated the officer for injuries to his scalp before taking him to hospital, BBC News reported. 

A prison spokesman and a spokeswoman from the Ministry of Justice confirmed to the BBC that an officer had been attacked, and only two inmates were involved in the disturbance.

Michael Rolfe, a prison spokesman who works at nearby Elmley prison, said the officer was attacked with a bladed weapon, and was either stabbed or slashed at.

The Home Office sent its specialist Tornado unit to the jail - a group of officers specially trained to deal with prison riots, Kent Online reported.

“There is a lot of damage to the prison,” Mr Rolfe said, adding he believed the damage was restricted to the prison’s accommodation areas.

Staff at a command centre told Mr Rolfe that the situation had been contained, but two inmates remained on the metal netting above the cells.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice said that the officer had since been discharged from hospital.

Last week, a report into the facility said some prisoners were too afraid to leave their cells, fearing they would be attacked.

An unannounced inspection of the prison said staff shortages were “affecting every area of the prison”.

Mr Rolfe said an issue with staff numbers caused by “cuts to the service” lead to the latest disturbance.

“We don't do the security checks we used to do,” he said and claimed “they’re not so thorough” or “frequent.”

Responding to the allegation, the Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said there was no link between the incident and staffing.

Kent Police are now investigating the assault.