Shock number of fires reported in Doncaster prisons in just one year revealed

HMP Doncaster in Marsh Gate saw 75 fires in 2016.
HMP Doncaster in Marsh Gate saw 75 fires in 2016.

There were 161 fires across prisons in Doncaster in just 12 months, new figures reveal.

Statistics show Doncaster prison had 75 fires in 2016, the fourth highest in the whole country behind Birmingham, Nottingham and Thameside in London.

Lindholme prison, a category C unit which holds over 1,000 inmates saw 51 blazes in the 12 month period last year.

Moorland prison, where former England footballer Adam Johnson is serving time for child sex offences, saw 33 fires last year.

Hatfield prison, an open site where prisoners are trusted to serve their sentences with minimal supervision and perimeter security and are not locked up in prison cells, saw two blazes.

Doncaster prison fires spiked in June when 14 incidents were reported while Moorlands saw a high of ten fires in September.

Lindholme saw a spike in April with six while Hatfield prison saw their two fires in September and December.

The figures come from a Commons question by Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, who said: “The number of fires in our prisons is extremely concerning, raising questions of safety for both inmates and prison staff.

"Prison staff have faced years of cuts.

“The government must now make sure that there are enough staff to maintain control of our prisons and ensure that the safety of both staff and inmates is not put at risk. The fact that the number of incidents is on the rise shows the need for urgent action.”

Sam Gyimah, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice said: "We will never compromise on the safety of those in our care, and staff are trained to respond to emergency situations in a timely, appropriate manner.

"All fires within establishments are reported via the Incident Reporting System from which the following data is obtained.

"The definition of fire incidents is not reserved for deliberate acts of arson; it also covers a wide range of circumstances including accidental fires.

"Although the Fire Service routinely attend fire incidents in prisons, the majority are relatively minor in their nature."