In December 2016, Britain witnessed one of the worst prison riots in its history at privately-run HMP Birmingham. It is estimated that it cost the taxpayer and G4S, the company who run the prison, over £6 million in total. The riot saw more than 500 prisoners rampaging freely through the buildings.

According to The Telegraph, the riot was the worst in 25 years, with more than 200 prisoners needing to be moved.

Evidence collected resulted in all five of the ringleaders being given prison sentences for their part in the riots.

How did the riot start?

The riot started because the five defendants gained access to keys that opened cells and other vital secure areas. Trouble initially started in just two of the wings but quickly spread once the number of prisoners running freely through the prison reached critical point.

Staff were allegedly threatened with used syringes. Once they were no longer able to cope, riot police - some wearing a Body Worn Camera like those supplied by - were drafted in. At one point, it is believed that only the main gate stood as the last line of defence in preventing a breakout. It took more that 12 hours to bring the prison back under control, during which time prisoners had freely posted images and live video posts to social media showing the extent of the rioting and bragging about their part in it.

How did the cost mount up?

The lion’s share of the £6 million bill was the cost of lost earnings incurred by G4S and emergency service personnel, which ran to a staggering £3.5 million. The prison also required massive refurbishment to fix the damage that had been caused on the night, and this cost around £1.7 million. Replacing the broken and missing locks ran to over £470,000, while the cost of downtime for G4S was in excess of £380,000. To bring the prison back under control, riot police and staff from other prisons around the country were drafted in; this amounted to over £330,000.

The cost to regional emergency services in the West Midlands could not be fully quantified. On the night, more that 5 per cent of frontline ambulance crews were sent to the riot, along with a similar amount of resources from the fire service.

Published by sandeep Malik