§ Mr. Tony Lloyd
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out the procedures under which allegations into serious assault in prisons are investigated; and whether such allegations are automatically referred to the police.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
If a prisoner is suspected of a serious offence against the law, including assault, the governor has discretion to refer the matter to the police for investigation. The internal disciplinary code includes charges that may amount to a criminal offence, however, and it is normal, therefore, for behaviour that might amount to a relatively minor criminal offence to be investigated and dealt with internally.
Allegations against staff are investigated, and governors may, on prison service headquarters' advice, refer such allegations to the police for investigation if there is evidence that a criminal offence may have been committed. Evidence that a serious assault had occurred would invariably be referred to the police.