Prisons boost security after NoW exposé

The Home Of?ce has instituted wideranging security reforms across the prison system as a direct result of a News of the World undercover investigation.

But it has yet to reveal whether or not criminal action is to be taken against reporter David McGee, who spent nine months undercover when he gained a job as a prison warder at Woodhill maximum security prison. While there, he was assigned to cover Soham murder suspect Ian Huntley.

McGee landed the warder job using false references which were never checked, a fake address and a passport which declared that he was really a journalist.

An internal report into the security of Woodhill has revealed that McGee’s personnel ?le went missing once the NoW exposé was published six weeks ago. Several prison service employees are to face disciplinary action as a result of the security lapses which led to him getting the warder job.

And prison minister Paul Goggins is to introduce an action plan which includes: making recruits provide a professional reference in the same way as a passport application, proof of address to be required on job applications and urgently increasing staf?ng levels in Woodhill’s personnel department.

A NoW spokesman said: “The Prison Service’s own investigation totally vindicates our exposé. “We uncovered scandalous security lapses at Woodhill prison. The Home Of?ce has effectively con?rmed that our report was in the public interest. “It follows that to press on with a criminal inquiry into the reporter’s in?ltration of the jail is perverse. Far from breaking the law, David McGee performed a ?ne public service.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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