Justice Secretary appears to blame prison staff for Daniel Khalife escape

Alex Chalk implies staff were to blame for Daniel Khalife escape

The Tory Justice Minister has appeared to level blame for Daniel Khalife’s escape on HMP staff working at Wandsworth.

Speaking to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg this morning, Alex Chalk said security protocols had been in place when Mr Khalife made his audacious escape, and there were an adequate number of staff.

While saying he didn’t want to prejudice the forthcoming inquiry, Mr Chalk left Ms Kuenssberg under the impression he was blaming human error for the security blunder.

Mr Chalk said it’s now clear that relevant security protocols were in place, including the headcount that must be made after goods are unloaded from a lorry, and the searches that must take place to a vehicle when it is in the ‘airlock’.

He also said “the relevant security staff were in place”.

Asked if the staff actually followed the rules regarded searches, Mr Chalk said that is “the real question”.

“Were the relevant protocols followed to the extend that they should be. And that is precisely what we need this investigation – indeed the independent investigation – to get to the bottom of.”

The Justice Secretary said the equipment to look underneath a vehicle as it left the prison was in place, and the staff were also in place on the gate.

Asked by Ms Kuenssberg whether he was therefore blaming “human error” for the breakout, Mr Chalk said “it would be quite wrong for me to prejudice the outcome of [the investigation].”

He added that while the escape was very serious, breakouts are “very rare and much rarer, incidentally, than 20 years ago”.

Mr Chalk pledged to “got to the bottom” of the circumstances surrounding Khalife’s escape.


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