A MAJOR disturbance at privately run HMP Birmingham began yesterday with reports of a “badly injured” prisoner and inmates burning and destroying their files.
Security firm G4S, which runs the Victorian category B jail, confirmed that the incident began shortly after 9am on Friday in two wings of the prison and spread into four in the afternoon.
A specialist riot team, dogs and a police helicopter were sent to the site.
A G4S spokesman said: “We are responding to an ongoing incident at HMP Birmingham this morning.
“Our teams withdrew following a disturbance and sealed two wings, which include some administrative offices.
“The disturbance has since spread to two further wings.”
It has been reported that the trouble started with lights being broken and inmates using fire hoses.
“The officers were then, as they are instructed to do, trying to get as many prisoners locked in their cells as possible to contain it,” he said.
“While one of the officers was putting a prisoner in the cell he was threatened with what appeared to be a used syringe.”
It is understood that inmates had gained access to the admin office in one of the wings which officers sealed off.
Four hundred prisoners are believed to be involved in the incident across the four wings while the rest of the jail is in lockdown.
Prison Officers Association (POA) national chairman Mike Rolfe said the “serious incident” at the prison is “another stark warning to the Ministry of Justice that the service is in crisis.”
He added: “Currently the whole facts surrounding the incident at HMP Birmingham are not known.
“No staff injuries have been reported”
This is the third disturbance to take place in Britain’s prisons in less than two months following a riot at category-B Bedford prison on November 6 which involved 200 inmates.