TOP COP DIZAEI OUT AFTER JUST 13 DAYS

Commander Ali Dizaei arrests the young web designer

‘Sheer vengeance’

 Ali Dizaei says he now faces becoming homeless for being an ‘outsider’. By Paul Peachey, The Independent

He calls himself a “radical activist” and compares himself to some of the victims of the most notorious miscarriages of justice of the modern era. He paints himself as an outsider of an “old boy’s network” at Scotland Yard and the target of a media witch-hunt. But Ali Dizaei, the most senior police officer found guilty of corruption for a generation, said at the end of the day “I’m just a copper”.

Not for much longer. Dizaei, 49, is expected to be drummed out of the Metropolitan Police after a controversial 25-year career punctuated by conflict, suspensions, some plaudits and, last month, a criminal conviction for attempting to frame a young web designer in a dispute over an unpaid bill.

The Iranian-born officer is suspended without pay, but is unlikely to go quietly. He is continuing with what he calls his five-year plan to clear his name following his latest two-week stint in solitary confinement at Wandsworth Prison in south London. He emerged last week wearing an electronic tag.

In a wide-ranging interview with i at his home in west London this week, the suspended senior officer spoke of his time inside prison and his plans to sue News International after learning last year that he may have been a victim of phone hacking.

He also spoke of the threat to his home after being hit with a six-figure bill for prosecution costs.

“They want the costs for putting me in prison,” said the former commander, who once earned £90,000 a year. “They want to make me homeless. This is all I have. They want me to sell my house, so my family is homeless as well.”

Any sympathy is likely to be in short supply at Scotland Yard, where he had been an officer since 1999. His eventful career saw him suspended and put under surveillance during the multimillion pound Operation Helios over allegations that he had corrupt links with criminals and spied for the Iranians. The allegations proved to be unfounded.

Afterwards, Dizaei was at the heart of some of the very public ructions over racism within the country’s biggest force in the aftermath of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry. He was finally brought down over a clash with a man who claimed that Dizaei had not paid him for work on a personal website.

He was jailed in 2010 for the wrongful arrest of Waad al-Baghdadi and served 462 days in prison before being freed on appeal after it emerged that his accuser was a benefit fraudster. During his first time inside, he was attacked twice – once being assaulted by six other inmates and having excrement stuffed in his face and mouth, he said.

He was convicted at a second trial last month and spent his two weeks inside in solitary confinement because of the risk of him being attacked by other prisoners. It was a block with some of the most disruptive prisoners at Wandsworth.

He said: “In the cells across from me, they were shouting, ‘f***ing copper, we’re going to get you when you go to have your meals’. The threats were being thrown at me all the time, day and night. They knew I was there because my name was prominently displayed on the door of my cell.”

He said he spent his latest spell inside reading thrillers. Dizaei said his experiences at more than four prisons during his near 16 months on the other side of the fence highlighted failings of the criminal justice system. He said that overcrowded prisons did little to rehabilitate inmates.

“One of the reasons I believe that prison doesn’t work is because for quite a lot of people the initial shock of going into prison wears away after two to three weeks,” he said. “As human beings, we take it in our stride very quickly.

“Prisons are bursting from overcapacity. There were not enough courses for the prisoners to do. The courses that were on offer were not a means to an end. There was nothing to prepare the prisoner and get them match-fit so they could come out and leave crime for a new life.”

Now out, he is preparing a claim against News International after he was told that his phone might have been hacked while he was acting as legal advisor to the national Black Police Association in 2006. He said he was told “it was in a pattern which was consistent with tapping voicemails but they have been generally unhelpful because they don’t like Ali Dizaei”.

He said he does not know what he will do next, but is unlikely to be an officer. “The Metropolitan Police doesn’t warm to radical activists,” he said. “It’s against the nature of the beast.”

Mark Leech editor of Converse the national prisoners newspaper says:

“Ali Dizaei has served his time and now deserves all the help he can get to put his life back on track – in prison he was treated disgracefully.

“Forcing him now to sell his home and make his family homeless is sheer vengeance, not justice; the State has had its pound of flesh and should now leave him alone.”

CONVICTED FOR “ONLY THE SECOND MURDER OF ITS KIND”

Brian Harrison

A fisherman already in prison for causing a man severe brain damage in a street attack is facing a life sentence for murder in what police said was only the second case of its kind since the legal time limit on charges involving deaths was lifted.

Brian Harrison, 31, was given an indeterminate sentence for public protection (IPP) in 2008 for the attack in which he repeatedly kicked Neville Dunn in the head as he lay on the ground on New Year’s Eve in 2007, leaving him requiring round the clock care.

Mr Dunn, whom Harrison wrongly believed had raped his then girlfriend, died in 2009 aged 44 from complications caused by his condition.

A jury at Truro Crown Court today convicted Harrison, who was originally jailed for GBH, of murder over the attack in Penzance, Cornwall.

Detectives said it was only the second conviction to be achieved after the introduction of the Law Reform (Year and a Day Rule) Act 1996. The Act scrapped the “year and a day rule” which stated that an action was presumed not to have caused a person’s death if more than a year and a day elapsed between it occurring and their death.

Speaking outside court, Mr Dunn’s ex-partner, Denise Johnson, who was at his side during his 22 months in hospitals and care homes before his death, welcomed the verdict as “justice finally being done”.

“Our lives have been on hold since the day it happened. We haven’t been able to move on, all the time Neville was in care homes and hospitals we have just spent every single day with him. It has been a tragic ordeal for all of us,” she said.

“After the event he was in a semi-conscious state, he couldn’t do anything, he couldn’t recognise anyone.

“I don’t suppose I should say this but I wish he died the day he was assaulted because it was so terrible to have to watch a fit young man who enjoyed life, who enjoyed his fishing, who enjoyed a pint, to just be laid there to nothing.

“So in my opinion I wish he had died that day so he didn’t have to suffer for the 22 months that he did suffer.”

Ms Johnson, from Grimsby, attended court with Mr Dunn’s daughter Kirsty, 21, and stepson Jason Sutcliffe, 38. He has another daughter, 29-year-old Lindsey Johnson, who was not in court.

There was an emotional outburst from the three of them as the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict in under four hours after a week-long trial.

Harrison, who was sentenced to serve a minimum of six years before being assessed for suitability for release under the terms of his IPP, seemed to smirk as the verdict was read out.

He will be sentenced tomorrow.

Last October Leigh Clift was jailed for life with a minimum of six years over the death of a man nine years after he was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver.

Jonathan Barton, from Milton Keynes, was 19 when he was assaulted by Clift outside The Beacon in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, in September 2000.

The teenager sustained serious head injuries and was left disabled. After his death in July 2009, the police investigation was reopened and Clift, who had already served five years for GBH after the attack, was found guilty of murder at Luton Crown Court.

Detective Sergeant Matt Boyling, who investigated Mr Dunn’s murder, said: “This was a highly unusual case and we had to seek the Attorney General’s permission to bring this murder prosecution.

“The assault on Mr Dunn was a violent and premeditated crime and it is clear that his death was a direct result of the injuries he sustained in the attack.

“Mr Dunn suffered a prolonged assault and was left for dead with serious head injuries from which he subsequently died.

“Since the assault, Mr Dunn’s family have suffered a terrible ordeal, but we hope that today’s verdict will go some way towards offering them closure, knowing that justice has been done.”

PENTONVILLE PRISONER FOUND HANGED

Exercise yard at Pentonville Prison, north London

A prisoner has been found dead at HMP Pentonville, a PrisonService spokesman said.

Noah Smith, 49, was discovered hanged in his cell at 2.45am yesterday – Sunday 4th March 2012.

The spokesman said; “Staff attempted resuscitation and paramedics attended, but he was pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 3.30am.

“The police, coroner and next of kin have been informed.

“As with all deaths in custody the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation.”

“DEFECTIVE” CLARE’S LAW – SET TO BE INTRODUCED

 

The Government is expected to announce “Clare’s Law” pilot schemes today that will give women the right to ask police about a partner’s history.

Home Secretary Theresa May is set to reveal that four areas in England and Wales will trial the changes.

It comes after a campaign for a change in the law to help protect women from domestic abuse by the Michael Brown, the father of a murder victim.

Mr Brown’s daughter, Clare Wood, was strangled and set on fire by her ex-boyfriend, George Appleton, at her home in Salford in February 2009.

Appleton, dubbed the “Facebook Fugitive” then went on the run before hanging himself.

Miss Wood, 36, a mother-of-one, had met Appleton on Facebook, unaware of his horrific history of violence against women, including repeated harassment, threats and the kidnapping at knifepoint of one of his ex-girlfriends.

At the inquest into Miss Wood’s death last year, Coroner Jennifer Leeming said women in abusive relationships should have the right to know about the violent past of the men they were with.

“Sarah’s Law” named after Sarah Payne who was murdered by paedophile Roy Whiting in 2000, now gives parents the right to know of any child sex convictions of men with access to their children.

Mr Brown, a former prison officer originally from Aberdeen who now lives in West Yorkshire, said last month the “world is watching for a lead from the UK’s Government”.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Domestic violence is a particularly dreadful form of abuse and we are constantly looking at ways to strengthen protection for victims.

“That is why we consulted on introducing a domestic violence disclosure scheme, often known as ‘Clare’s law’. We will be making a formal announcement shortly.”

Mrs May last year agreed to open a ‘Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme’ to public consultation and is now considering the response

Michael Brown, the father of Clare Wood, told BBC Breakfast the law change “certainly can’t harm” women, and stressed that it would also protect men who could be at risk of being victims of domestic violence.

He said: “We have a rising domestic violence situation in this country and we have a lessening police force.”

Mr Brown went on: “With the rate domestic violence in this country is going up, I can’t see that what I’ve proposed or what the Home Secretary has proposed can do any harm in this country at all.”

He said his daughter’s life would have been saved if the law had been in place when she was alive.

“I have said time and time again that, had this been in place and had my daughter had any inkling of what this laddie was capable of, she would have been long gone. There’s no doubt about that at all.”

Asked if a father should also be allowed to find out about his child’s partner’s convictions, he said: “Certainly not in my case. My daughter was 36 years old. She was old enough to make decisions for herself without my interference.”

He added: “I think it’s between partners. The more you widen it, the more you are going to have dissenters. There are people who will not wish this to be passed as a law but I can’t see it doing much harm.”

Mr Brown welcomed the launch of the pilot scheme move, saying it would have given his daughter the chance to make an “educated decision” as to whether to stay with Appleton.

“I believe that, if my daughter had known of the past of her partner, she would have dropped him like a hot brick and scampered out of there,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

However, Sandra Horley, chief executive of the domestic violence charity Refuge, warned that the cost of setting up the scheme could outweigh the benefits.

“It is highly unlikely that she (Miss Wood) was killed because the police didn’t inform her about her ex-partner’s violent history. It is more likely that she was killed because the police did not respond to her emergency 999 call for help,” she told Today.

“We are at a loss to understand why the Government is spending precious time and money – especially at a time of austerity – on this new scheme.

“As the law stands, the public already have the right to ask and the police have the powers to disclose information about a man’s previous history.”

TV PRESENTER JAILED FOR SEX ASSAULTS

PETER ROWELL

A former BBC and ITV presenter has been jailed for six years after admitting a string of sexual assaults on teenage girls.

Peter Rowell, 53, used his position as a DJ on a local radio station to groom and abuse impressionable young girls.

The father-of-one, from Wickwar, South Gloucestershire, pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to 12 counts of indecent assault following complaints from five women.

The assaults occurred between 1989 and the early 1990s when the women were all under 16 years old, the court heard.

Rowell also admitted six counts of making indecent photographs of children, which range from levels one to four – five being the most serious category.

He also pleaded guilty to the possession of 464 indecent images, found in his possession in January 2011.

Imposing the six-year jail term, Judge David Ticehurst told Rowell that he had a good career, a good income and a family but behind that he hid a “dark secret”.

“You had a life and lifestyle that would have been the envy of many – an apparently successful career in a glamorous and glittering world,” the judge said.

“Behind that public image you were a man that hid a dark secret. You were attracted to young girls, sexually abusing and exploiting for your own gratification.

“You were someone prepared to use the world of showbiz to attract young girls to you to abuse them.

“It is not the case of you involving yourself with a star-struck teenager on an isolated occasion and succumbing to temptation but a series of offences involving five separate girls over a period of five years.”

The judge said that the offences had occurred during the late 1980s and early 1990s when Rowell was in his mid-30s working as a DJ on GWR.

“I conclude that your use of your position in the media world is part of a breach of trust,” the judge said.

“These girls made contact with you as a minor celebrity. You invited them to visit your studio and they believed they were getting an insight into the media world.

“In truth it was enabling you to sexually abuse them.”

The judge told Rowell that his sexual interest in young girls was demonstrated by the indecent photographs and movies found on his computer by police when he was arrested last year.

“The true nature of your predatory interest in young girls was shown by the material found on your computer at the time of your arrest,” the judge added.

However, in imposing the sentence, the judge said he gave the white-haired defendant credit for pleading guilty and sparing his victims the ordeal of having to give evidence during a trial.

The judge placed Rowell on the sex offenders’ register for life and ordered that he be made the subject of an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order banning contact with under 16s.

FIVE GUILTY OVER PRISON RIOT

FORD PRISON ABLAZE IN JANUARY 2011

Five men were convicted today of charges relating to a riot at an open prison.

Trouble flared at Ford open Prison, in Arundel, West Sussex, when inmates became angry over alcohol breath-testing carried out by prison staff in the run-up to New Year’s Day last year.

Shortly after midnight, masked inmates torched and smashed up the prison, causing more than £5 million-worth of damage.

Following more than 20 hours of deliberation, a jury at Hove Crown Court found Thomas Regan, Lennie Franklin and Roche Allen guilty of prison mutiny.

Lee Roberts and Carniel Francis were found not guilty of the charge.

Ryan Martin was acquitted of all three offences of prison mutiny, violent disorder and arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered and discharged from the dock.

Roberts, Franklin, Allen and Francis were all found guilty of violent disorder. Regan had already pleaded guilty to the charge.

Roberts was also found guilty of arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered, by a majority verdict of 10-2.

Regan, Franklin and Allen were found not guilty of the offence.

During the five-week trial, the jury was told that masked and armed prisoners took control of the open prison within half an hour of turning on staff.

The mutiny saw inmates running amok, looting, smashing and torching buildings and property during the early hours of January 1 2011.

Prosecutor Ian Acheson told the court it was a case where violent chaos and arson ruled.

A building resentment had grown among inmates over alcohol breath-testing which took place in the run-up to New Year’s Eve in December 2010.

The tension erupted at the turn of New Year, when the five staff who were in charge were overpowered by the prisoners.

The jury heard that by the time the authorities were back in control of the prison 12 hours later, in excess of £5 million-worth of damage had been caused.

Empty alcohol bottles were found inside and outside the prison and inmates had failed breath tests on previous occasions.

The issue was reinforced to staff who were covering the night shift on New Year’s Eve.

As all five staff made themselves a visible presence as midnight approached, Mr Acheson said one of the defendants, believed to be Roberts, stepped forward and said: “There are 550 of us. There are five of you. We run the prison, what are you going to do?”

About 30 prisoners started to advance towards the staff, making threats, shouting and making “monkey” noises.

Many had obscured their faces by tying clothes around their heads.

The staff retreated to the gate house, leaving the prisoners unsupervised.

One commented that they had “lost the prison”, Mr Acheson said.

Although some buildings survived the chaos during the night, the arson continued into the next day.

Judge Michael Lawson told the defendants that their behaviour as they advanced towards the five staff on duty that night, threatening to kill them and cut them, must have been terrifying.

He said: “Those officers were faced with a frightening situation and were unable to quell what was happening.

“Had they run they would have suffered injury from the crowd who were already aroused, angry and out of control.

“With considerable bravery, they made a controlled return to the gate house.”

He said three of the defendants were billeted in L1, a block where alcohol breath testing had taken place earlier that evening.

He added: “Within an hour and a half the mob that charged against the officers was ready and masked up.

“The alarm went off in L1 at 12.10am. The officers heard the sounds of the crowd amassing around the billet and then between the brick billets.

“After the officers had withdrawn, and with the prison to yourselves, the four of you and Mr Roberts, together with others, went wholly out of control, anarchy reigned and you were rampaging through areas of the prison where your inmates had their homes.

“Many of the residents of the prison were utterly terrified of what they saw and by this behaviour, being wholly out of control. That fear continued throughout the night.

“Those prisoners, like anybody else, were entitled to protection from such utter fear.

“We have heard something of the prisoners’ code and the prisoners’ etiquette. Your behaviour that night makes a total mockery of prison etiquette.”

Detective Chief Inspector Pierre Serra, from Sussex Police, said: “This has been a complex and challenging investigation, involving over 40 Sussex Police officers and taking over a year from start to verdict.

“It is certainly one of the largest investigations I have worked on in the last 18 years and even more rewarding by virtue of today’s verdict.

“The success of this investigation into five million pounds worth of criminal damage at FordPrison would not have been possible without the valuable partnership work from the outset from our colleagues at the Ministry of Justice, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and especially to Her Majesty’s Prison Service.

“Both I and my team of officers are very grateful to all of these organisations and especially to Her Majesty’s Prison Service.

“From very early on we had to work at a fast pace to secure enough evidence to make arrests and identify suspects on what was a dark, rainy and confusing night of mass disturbance.

“A number of prisoners, including our main suspects, had to be moved to prisons all over the UK, with the added complication that many were due for release over the coming weeks back into local communities around the country.

“Our most significant witnesses were serving prisoners, who have shown immense courage by coming forward in the first instance and subsequently attending court here at Hove.

“I would like to thank all of our witnesses including the prison staff who were on duty that night, and also all the witness care officers who have worked tirelessly with these people to help bring these offenders to justice.

“The incident at Ford Prison had a huge impact on the local community and Sussex Police is very grateful for their patience and understanding, particularly in those first few days when the prison and surrounding area was inundated with police, firefighters and both local and national media.”

Justice Minister Crispin Blunt said: “This is a good outcome after the shocking and violent rioting at HMP Ford on January 1 2011.

“I visited the prison the day after the disturbance and was appalled at the wanton damage and destruction I saw. These tough sentences reflect the seriousness with which society rightly views such actions.

“The convictions are to the credit of the Prison Service, Sussex Police and the Crown Prosecution Service who worked closely to ensure that these offenders were held to account for their criminal behaviour during the rioting.”

Simon Ringrose, CPS reviewing lawyer, said: “This case could not have been prosecuted without the support and evidence from witnesses who were inmates at the time.

“The fact that these men were prepared to give evidence demonstrates the seriousness of this incident and I would like to recognise their courage in coming forward.

“The prosecution team also received the total support of Her Majesty’s Prison Service in putting this case together and this assistance was crucial in ensuring that all relevant evidence was gathered and presented to the court.

“People can be reassured that incidents of this kind are viewed with the utmost seriousness and where there is sufficient evidence the public interest will almost inevitably require a prosecution.”

The riot at Ford could easily happen again said Mark Leech, the Editor of national prisoners newspaper Converse.

Mr Leech said :

“No one wants to support or talk up these dangerous incidents, but by the same token we cannot ignore the pressures created in a prison system when prisoner numbers go up and up, and budgets go down and down – its undeniable riots can happen again and its dangerous to pretend these are isolated incidents because they’re not.

“In an atmosphere where prison spaces become difficult to find it is inevitable that the wrong kind of prisoner is sent to the wrong kind of prison, that can have a destabilising effect and lead to the kind of destruction we saw at Ford a year ago.”

‘SUPERGRASS’ SYSTEM TO BE INVESTIGATED

Supergrass System to be Investigated

Two loyalist supergrasses in Northern Ireland were interviewed 330 times by police before their evidence was used in a trial, Northern Ireland’s justice minister said.

The supergrass system of offering lower sentences to criminals in exchange for information was widely criticised after the acquittal last week of 12 men, nine charged with the murder of Ulster Defence Association leader Tommy English.

Stormont justice minister David Ford gave evidence about the trial today before his assembly scrutiny committee.

“None of these are easy decisions, not least because they involve predicting how human beings are going to behave,” he said.

“The judge must apply a high standard to the evidence put in any case in determining if it proves the case beyond reasonable doubt.”

Ulster Volunteer Force members Robert and Ian Stewart had given evidence against 13 men.

They admitted UVF membership, and had already served more than three years for their part in the murder of Mr English on Halloween night 2000.

The Ulster Defence Association member was shot dead in front of his wife and children at his home on Belfast’s Ballyduff estate at the height of a loyalist feud between the UVF and UDA.

The Stewart brothers each had their sentences reduced by 19 years after admitting involvement in the murder of Mr English and agreeing to give evidence against their alleged accomplices.

Trial judge Mr Justice John Gillen said they lied to the police and the court. The Public Prosecution Service is reviewing the case.

Mr Ford said: “How an individual deals with interviews by police in one set of circumstances may be very different to how they stand up to cross-examination by the defence barristers in the courtroom.”

Former Police Ombudsman Baroness Nuala O’Loan and a London barrister were involved shortly before the case went to court, Mr Ford said.

The police investigation, Operation Ballast, now known as Operation Stafford, was launched after Baroness O’Loan’s investigation into allegations of collusion between police officers and the Mount Vernon unit of the UVF.

She found evidence that some loyalists had been special branch agents and that police had colluded with them to protect their arrest and prosecution.

Northern Ireland’s director of public prosecutions Barra McGrory has explained why the English trial went ahead.

Mr McGrory said the brothers had gone voluntarily to a police station at a time when there was no evidence against them and had provided information about the murder of Tommy English which was consistent with information held by the police.

He said police had then carried out an extensive debriefing exercise and concluded that both brothers had given “truthful and reliable accounts”.

Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney told the committee: “There are people out there saying that this (supergrass trial) is a continuation of a flawed system and we will find ourselves back in a situation which we find ourselves in before where we had a review of the criminal justice system.”

THE CASE OF THE ONE-LEGGED LOW RISK LIFER!

KIDNAPPING KILLER MICHAEL SAMS

A prisoner serving a life sentence for the murder of a teenager and the rape and kidnap of an estate agent two decades ago today told a High Court judge that he was “now … only a low risk”.

Michael Sams explained to Mr Justice Ouseley, during a High Court hearing in London, how the level of risk he posed to women prison staff had fallen over the past 15 years.

Sams, jailed at Nottingham Crown Court in 1993 for the murder of Julie Dart, 18, of Leeds and the rape and kidnap of Birmingham estate agent Stephanie Slater, then 25 – assessed his risk level as he tried to force authorities to re-categorise his prisoner status.

“In 1995, 1997 I was an extreme danger to female staff,” Sams, who is now past retirement age, told the judge. “In 2005, I was only medium risk. Now I am only low risk.”

He took legal action against Justice Secretary Ken Clarke as part of a fight to be downgraded from category A.

Sams, who has one leg and is a former toolmaker from Sutton-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, complained that prison bosses had refused to remove “inaccurate” information from his files.

But Mr Justice Ouseley dismissed his claim for “judicial review” saying prison officials had made “time-consuming and painstaking efforts” to ensure Sams’ file contained “all that it ought to”.

The judge was told that prison authorities had considered Sams’ case in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and concluded each time that he should be classed category A.

Sams represented himself and appeared by video link from Whitemoor prison near March, Cambridgeshire, where he is held.

He had presented a hand-written statement of claim to the court.

Sams wrote his “detailed statement of facts & grounds” in capital letters and referred to himself in the third person.

“This is a challenge by a life sentence prisoner to a decision by the Ministry of Justice to refuse to remove inaccurate reports from his files,” wrote Sams.

“The claimant is disabled (above right knee amputation) and he is 69 years of age. He has been a ‘cat A’ prisoner throughout his sentence.”

‘MAVERICK’ PRISON GOVERNOR TELLS PROBATION STAFF “GET OUT OF MY JAIL!”

Lindholme Prison Governor, Bob Mullen

A prison governor has ordered all probation staff off the premises after the local probation trust teamed up with a private security firm to try to take over the running of his jail.

Bob Mullen, the governor of Lindholme prison, told South Yorkshire Probation Trust that he was excluding all its staff to protect the commercial confidentiality of the rival public sector bid.

Mark Leech, editor of the national prisoners newspaper Converse said Mullen was known as ‘a maverick’ prison governor.

“Among prison staff he is known as a ‘Screws Governor’, meaning he always supports his staff, whatever they do, he was awarded the OBE in 2010 for his 30 years service, but he is also known as a maverick and this is an example of that kind of behaviour – his jail is one of eight that the Justice Secretary last year called ‘failing prisons’ which he put out to private tender.”

An internal probation service email published in The Guardian said: “The probation staff in the public sector prisons were effectively marched off the premises and had their identity badges and keys taken away and were effectively locked out of their place of work.”

The jail is among eight run by the public sector, along with one by private security firm G4S, which were put out for competition by Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke last year.

But the deal is believed to be the first where the probation trust would run the prisons alongside G4S, rather than simply as a subcontractor.

The internal memos seen by the newspaper said the governor’s decision had come as a “complete surprise” and was seen by probation staff as a “direct consequence of the decision by South Yorkshire Probation Trust (PT) to jump into bed with G4S”.

But a G4S spokeswoman said: “G4S and South Yorkshire Probation Trust have formed a strategic partnership to reduce reoffending in South Yorkshire.

“By teaming up with South Yorkshire PT as well as the respected voluntary sector organisation St Giles’ Trust, G4S is confident it can deliver a better approach to reducing reoffending, one which recognises the importance of community and prison working together to deliver improved outcomes for offenders and society, and the best possible value for money.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Arrangements are in place to ensure that probation staff are able to undertake their duties and we are confident that the situation will be resolved swiftly.

“There is no risk to the public.

“The decision was taken locally and was not made centrally by Noms (the National Offender Management Service).”

He went on: “Competition should be widely applied, with public sector providers allowed to bid where we are competing local services.

“We are working with existing and new providers from the public, private and voluntary sectors, with contracts awarded on the basis of whoever is best placed to deliver our objectives.

“South Yorkshire Probation Trust (SYPT) has been funded to deliver probation services and the trust is fully delivering the required services.

“SYPT has not received additional funding for business development work, though the trust will have some capacity locally to work with others to develop innovative and efficient ways of working which meet local need.”

The governor’s ruling on South Yorkshire Probation Trust staff also applies to Moorland and Hatfield jails near Doncaster.

It is understood the reason South Yorkshire probation chiefs teamed up with G4S was because they thought the firm’s bid better reflected probation values than the public sector bid.

Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the probation union Napo, said: “If this is true it’s an extraordinary insult to the ethos of the public sector.”

ROUL MOAT VICTIM PC FOUND DEAD

PC David Rathband

The policeman who was shot and blinded by crazed gunman Raoul Moat has been found dead at his home in a suspected suicide.
The body of Pc David Rathband was discovered in Blyth, Northumberland, on Wednesday night after officers received a report of concern for his welfare. A Northumbria Police spokesman said no-one was being sought in connection with the incident.
The father of two, 44, lost his sight and was fitted with prosthetic eyes after being shot at close range in July 2010 during the manhunt for fugitive Moat.
Paying tribute, Chief Constable Sue Sim said she was “deeply saddened” by the death of Pc Rathband, a “dedicated officer” who showed “outstanding bravery in what was a terrifying situation”.
Former bouncer Moat was the subject of a huge manhunt as he evaded capture for a week before shooting himself dead after a stand-off with police in the market town of Rothbury, Northumberland. On July 3 2010, he had shot and injured his former partner Samantha Stobbart, 22, and killed her new boyfriend, Chris Brown, 29.
The following day, after declaring he was now “hunting for officers”, Moat crept up on armed Pc Rathband as he sat in his marked police car at a roundabout above the A1. Pc Rathband was shot in the face and shoulder but saved his own life by pretending to be dead. He was left with more than 200 shotgun pellets lodged in his skull.
The officer, who joined Northumbria Police in 2000, later announced he was suing the force after he was left “a sitting duck” when gunman Moat declared war on police during his rampage.
After the attack, the policeman launched his own charity, the Blue Lamp Foundation, which aims to help emergency service personnel injured in the line of duty. Pc Rathband announced on Twitter in November that he and his wife Kath were separating permanently.
A spokesman for the Blue Lamp Foundation said: “Since being shot in July 2010, David struggled to come to terms with his horrific injuries and the traumatic effect they had on him and his family and friends. The foundation was started by David to help emergency services personnel injured in the line of duty as the result of a criminal act. It was David’s wish that those who found themselves in a similar position to him could receive the support that wasn’t available to him at the time.”
Former Scotland Yard commander John O’Connor said the consequences of Pc Rathband’s injuries had been “too much for him to live with”, adding on ITV’s Daybreak: “No amount of counselling or compensation can give you back what you’ve lost and that’s the bottom line of it.”