When the special unit that held the IRA prisoners at Whitemoor was opened in July 1992, it was not general practice to conduct rub-down searches of visitors to prisoners in all such units. Following a review of policies, instructions were issued by Prison Service headquarters, in May of last year, which required full rub- down searches for all visitors in all special secure units.
That has applied at Whitemoor since the reopening of the special secure unit in June 1993. It will be a matter for the inquiry, now under way, to confirm that this policy was being fully implemented. The Prison Service policy is that no special privileges are given to IRA prisoners that are in any way different from other prisoners of the same security category.
Maintenance of security is the top priority of the Prison Service. It is our policy to ensure that adequate staff are available to maintain security.
There have been no reductions in the number of security staff at Whitemoor prison, which is fully staffed.
HM Prison Service
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