Prisoners moved out of Wandsworth jail after Daniel Khalife’s escape


Prisoners moved out of Wandsworth jail after Daniel Khalife's escape

About 40 inmates have been moved out of Wandsworth prison after terror suspect Daniel Khalife escaped from the facility last Wednesday.

Justice Secretary Alex Chalk told Sky News’ Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips that prisoners were transferred “out of an abundance of caution”.

Khalife, 21, was arrested on Saturday after 75 hours on the run.

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The breakout has raised questions about alleged understaffing and overcrowding at HMP Wandsworth, and why Khalife was being held at the less secure Category B facility when most terror suspects are held in HMP Belmarsh, a Category A prison.

Mr Chalk was not able to provide a figure when asked repeatedly how many terror suspects are in Category B prisons rather than Category A.

He said: “What I can say in respect of Wandsworth… I wanted to ensure out of an abundance of caution that every resource is put into that prison and security is preserved, some prisoners there on remand have been moved.”

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Prisoners moved out of Wandsworth jail after Daniel Khalife's escape

He said the transfers happened this week, adding: “Additional resources have gone into Wandsworth, out of an abundance of caution around 40 prisoners have been moved.”

The government has launched a number of reviews into Khalife’s escape, including one looking at the “placement and categorisation” of all inmates in Wandsworth and another investigating all people behind bars currently charged with terror offences.

Mr Chalk admitted the categorisation of Khalife was a “concern” but insisted the process was “not without its complexities”.

The government reviews will run alongside an independent investigation to establish how the prisoner was able to escape.

Khalife remains in police custody after he was dramatically arrested on Saturday in the north-west London suburb of Northolt after four days on the run.

Detectives believe the former soldier made his getaway by strapping himself to the bottom of a delivery lorry after leaving the prison kitchen in a cook’s uniform.

Mr Chalk, discussing the preliminary findings of one of the reviews he has issued, said the investigation has looked into whether protocols were in place relating to the unloading of food from a van and searching the delivery vehicle.

He said the protocols were in place but “plainly what we’ve yet to establish is whether those protocols were followed”.

Ex Tory MP: ‘You couldn’t run a fish and chip shop way government is run’

Prisoners moved out of Wandsworth jail after Daniel Khalife's escape

The government is facing criticism over cuts to the prison system with critics saying the escape reflects a wider mismanagement of the criminal justice system.

It has also been pointed out that Mr Chalk is the 10th justice secretary since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.

Former Tory MP and prisons minister Rory Stewart said it is “completely mad” how ministers are moved into roles in government with no knowledge at all.

He said when he was given his ministerial role: “I hadn’t spoken to a prisoner or a prison officer for 20 years. I’ve never met someone who worked in probation but thanks to the genius of the British ministerial system, I was now responsible for all the prisons, prisoners, ex-offenders, officers, probation officers and sentencing policy in England and Wales.”

He added: “You could not run a fish and chip shop in the way in which the British government is run – it’s insane.”

Mr Stewart has written a book, Politics on the Edge, which he said is about “being honest about how bad” the British system is.

He said: “It’s not that politicians are necessarily incompetent or daft it’s that these jobs are mad.

“We need to look at the American system where we have genuine professionals as cabinet ministers.”


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