No Arabic staff at UK jail ‘creating risks’

A lack of Muslim and Arabic-speaking staff at a British jail that detains terrorism suspects is creating a security risk because they could not understand what inmates were discussing, a government report has revealed. Despite staff working at Long Lartin prison’s specialist terrorism unit insisting such culture training was essential, authorities had yet to introduce any sufficient education, a report by the prisons’ chief inspector found. Anne Owers’ report said that while managers had “taken steps to raise cultural awareness” – with visits to mosques and funding Arabic lessons – it was a small step “given the size of the cultural and language gaps”. The report concluded that security and care was balanced, but that could change because of the lack of Arabic-speaking and Muslim officers. The specialist unit at the Worcestershire prison was created in May 2005 and can hold up to 20 detainees who have not been charged with offences, but are believed to be “involved in terrorist international activity and are said to be a threat to national security”.