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Home Breaking Staff at HMP Swaleside Hospitalised After Alleged Spiking of Canteen Food

Staff at HMP Swaleside Hospitalised After Alleged Spiking of Canteen Food

Staff At HMP Swaleside Hospitalised After Alleged Spiking Of Canteen Food

Prison officers at HMP Swaleside on the Isle of Sheppey found themselves needing hospital treatment after a special staff curry was allegedly spiked by inmates, leading to what the Criminal Justice Workers Union (CJWU) has described as a “mass poisoning of staff” at the high-security jail.

Staff At HMP Swaleside Hospitalised After Alleged Spiking Of Canteen Food

The incident, suspected to involve the synthetic drug known as spice, resulted in as many as 25 employees being affected. Paramedics were summoned to the scene last Thursday (May 9), with at least three staff members subsequently requiring hospitalisation for further treatment.

Staff At HMP Swaleside Hospitalised After Alleged Spiking Of Canteen Food

Staff At Hmp Swaleside Hospitalised After Alleged Spiking Of Canteen Food

Andy Hamlin, an official for the CJWU, stated: “Prisoners preparing food in the staff canteen spiked a ‘staff special curry’ with what is believed to be a New Psychoactive Substance (NPS).” New Psychoactive Substances, commonly known as spice, are drugs designed to mimic the effects of illegal substances.

Staff At HMP Swaleside Hospitalised After Alleged Spiking Of Canteen Food

Spice, akin to cannabis in its effects, can induce mood swings, anxiety, paranoia, tremors, seizures, and fits. In this case, the affected staff exhibited symptoms including breathing difficulties and raised heart rates.

Staff At HMP Swaleside Hospitalised After Alleged Spiking Of Canteen Food

The South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) dispatched nine ambulances to the scene, with a makeshift incident unit established within the establishment to address the unfolding emergency.

Staff At HMP Swaleside Hospitalised After Alleged Spiking Of Canteen Food

While three individuals were taken to Medway Maritime Hospital for further checks, the CJWU expressed belief that five had required hospital treatment.

Staff At HMP Swaleside Hospitalised After Alleged Spiking Of Canteen Food

A spokesperson for the CJWU executive committee demanded a comprehensive investigation into the incident, emphasizing the need for HMP Swaleside management to prioritize the health and safety of its staff.

It was revealed that prisoners at the jail are employed to prepare and serve food in the staff canteen, with this position typically regarded as low-risk. However, the recent events have raised questions about the effectiveness of risk assessments and supervision protocols.

HMP Swaleside, housing men convicted of serious offences and those deemed high-risk, is no stranger to challenges. The institution has grappled with high levels of violence and drug accessibility, according to past inspections by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) confirmed the incident, stating that while several staff members required medical attention, none were in critical condition. An ongoing investigation is underway, with the MOJ liaising with relevant agencies to address the matter comprehensively.

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