Dovegate escapee recaptured

Haroon Ahmed
Haroon Ahmed

A violent criminal who escaped from prison before reportedly fleeing to Spain has been arrested.

Haroon Ahmed has been on the run since fleeing from HMP Dovegate, near Marchington, Staffordshire, on Wednesday afternoon.

Claims emerged over the weekend that the 26-year-old had fled to Marbella on the Costa del Sol.

He reportedly said he escaped jail as he “wanted to test out the security,” adding: “I thought, I’ll give it a go – and walked out of the door. That’s how easy it was. I just kept on walking.”

A statement from Staffordshire Police issued today said: “Haroon Ahmed, who is from the Derby area, was arrested this morning in the Nottingham area and has been taken into custody.

A spokeswoman said his whereabouts while on the run will form part of the police investigation.

The force previously said they were investigating “all lines of inquiry” and they could not confirm or deny whether he had travelled to Spain.

Ahmed, who was serving a sentence for robbery, told the Sunday Mirror that he was worried for his safety if he returns to the UK and claimed his family was being harassed because of his escape.

He had been missing since around 4.15pm on Wednesday, Staffordshire Police said.

Staffordshire Police thanked members of the public for their help sharing appeals to find Ahmed.

It added: “Our social media posts have reached just under 300,000 people in total.”

Hunt for violent escaped Category B prisoner

Haroon Ahmed
Haroon Ahmed

Police are hunting for a prisoner convicted of a violent robbery who has escaped.

Haroon Ahmed, 26, from the Derby area, escaped from HMP Dovegate, near Marchington, Staffordshire, at around 4.15pm on Wednesday, Staffordshire Police said.

Due to his violent conviction police advise members of the public not to approach him but to instead ring 999.

He is described as Asian, 6ft tall with a thin build and short black hair in a crew cut.

He was wearing jeans and a grey t-shirt but police say it is likely he has changed his clothing.

The force suspect Ahmed is in the Derby area where he has numerous connections.

Officers involved in the search for him arrested his brother, Majeed Ahmed, 25, of Clarence Road, Derby, on Thursday, and have charged him with assisting a prisoner in escaping from prison.

He has been released on bail to appear before magistrates in Burton on June 25.

A black Volkswagen Golf was also recovered as part of the investigation and has been subject to a detailed forensic examination.

HMP Dovegate
HMP Dovegate

opened in 2001, Serco manage HMP Dovegate on a 25 year contract as a category B prison holding over 1060 male adult prisoners over the age of 21 all serving a range of sentences including trial, remand, awaiting sentence and convicted men serving over four years to life.

Dovegate, in Staffordshire, provides education – literacy, numeracy, IT and vocational skills – healthcare, industrial work opportunities, drug and alcohol counselling, accredited and non-accredited offender behaviour courses aimed at reducing criminogenic risk and thereby aiding release and resettlement of offenders

The prison also includes a separate 200-bed Therapeutic Community for repeat serious offenders. The unit, the only privately-run one in the UK and the only purpose-built therapeutic facility, offers its residents daily group therapy, which lasts between 18 months and 24 months.

In September 2009 the prison expanded by nearly a third to accommodate a further 260 prisoners with a new activity building, training rooms, workshops, and housing units, resulting in the current 1060 average prisoner population.

Mark Leech, editor of The Prisons Handbook said the escape could cost the private prisons company hundreds of thousands of pounds in contractual fines.

Mr Leech said: “This is a very serious escape from a Category B prison – our second highest level of prison security,

“Serco who manage the prison will now face fines that could run to hundreds of thousands of pounds for their failure to prevent the escape and it could seriously effect any future contract bids they choose to make.”

 

HMP Dovegate Therapeutic Community – Working Effectively to Reduce The Risk of Reoffending

HM Prison Dovegate - operated by Serco
HM Prison Dovegate – operated by Serco

HMP Dovegate’s Therapeutic Community was doing some good work with prisoners to reduce the risk they posed, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of an unannounced inspection of the facility at the Staffordshire jail.

The Dovegate Therapeutic Community (TC) is a distinct institution holding up to 200 men, contained within the larger HMP Dovegate. The main prison, a category B training prison, is inspected separately. Dovegate TC is based on the concept that democratic therapeutic communities, run by both staff and prisoners, should be central to the way the prison operates. Prisoners are given a real say in the day-to-day running of the prison and have far more influence over their experience of prison life than at normal prisons. This happens within the context of the usual security imperatives of a category B prison holding men on indeterminate or long sentences. Men arrive at Dovegate TC needing to be more open about their offending and related institutional behaviour and to being challenged by peers and staff within therapy and community groups. Often they have a history of serious violent offending, poor institutional behaviour and prolific self-harm.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • Dovegate TC remained a safe prison, with very few incidents and most day-to-day safety problems dealt with by the communities rather than by more formal processes;
  • support for the small number of men vulnerable to self-harm was good, as was support for men with substance misuse issues;
  • staff-prisoner relationships were very good, which underpinned much of the work being done;
  • time out of cells was good, but sometimes affected by problems in the main prison;
  • leadership of learning and skills was developing, but some elements of quality improvement needed to be fully embedded;
  • resettlement support was good and men were encouraged to address their risks of re-offending; and
  • some very good work was being done during therapy, but problems in delivering some key aspects of therapy risked undermining effectiveness.

However, inspectors had some concerns:

  • men spent their first few months on the assessment unit and they had little to do that was purposeful;
  • the lack of experienced TC members in the unit was affecting the transfer of some key elements of the TC’s ethos;
  • prisoners needed to feel confident enough to raise concerns in therapy about other prisoners’ behaviour, and this was not fully embedded, which needed to be addressed head on;
  • the focus of learning skills as complementing therapy needed to be better understood and supported by staff; and
  • the promise of the national integrated personality disorder pathways strategy had not yet been realised, which was a wasted opportunity to ensure men arrived at the prison at the right time, and that there was a structured plan for them to progress after completion of the programme.

Nick Hardwick said:

“Overall, Dovegate provided a safe, respectful but testing environment for the prisoners it held and the public as a whole benefited from its effective work to reduce the risk that they would reoffend after release. We identified some weaknesses, but we were reassured that management had already identified and begun to address most of them. This provided grounds for optimism that the good work of the prison would not just be continued but be enhanced.”

 

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said:
“I am pleased that the Chief Inspector has highlighted the good work at Dovegate Therapeutic Community.

“It is a safe prison that is working well to rehabilitate a complex population and reduce their risk of reoffending.

“The director and his team will take forward the recommendations made in the report as they continue to build on their progress.”

 

A copy of the report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website from 27 February 2014 at: http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/inspectorate-reports/hmi-prisons/prison-and-yoi/dovegate