Around 40 inmates have been relocated from HMP Wandsworth following the escape of terror suspect Daniel Khalife, according to the UK’s Justice Secretary, Alex Chalk. Questions have arisen about whether Khalife, a 21-year-old suspect, should have been held on remand in the Category B prison. Chalk has emphasized that “relevant security protocols” were in place but raised concerns about whether they were adequately followed.
Daniel Khalife, a former soldier, was arrested by a plain-clothed officer on a canal towpath in Northolt after a four-day manhunt. He had escaped from Wandsworth prison by attaching himself to the underside of a food delivery lorry. Khalife was in custody pending a trial scheduled for November and faces charges related to espionage, obtaining information for terrorism purposes, and plotting a fake bomb hoax.
Justice Secretary Chalk has initiated two reviews: one to investigate the circumstances surrounding the escape and another concerning prison categorization. An independent investigation into the incident has also been ordered.
Chalk explained that additional resources and personnel, including a former governor with expertise in security, were deployed to Wandsworth prison. Approximately 40 prisoners were temporarily moved as a precautionary measure while the situation is investigated.
The escape process from Wandsworth prison involved several security measures, including a physical head count after unloading goods from a lorry, vehicle searches before exit, equipment for inspecting under vehicles, and staff stationed at the gates. Investigations will determine whether these measures were properly executed.
Chief Inspector of Prisons Charlie Taylor criticized Wandsworth Prison, describing it as “failing.” He expressed concerns about the level of staffing and overcrowding in prisons, highlighting the challenges of outdated facilities not suitable for the 21st century.
The arrest of Daniel Khalife was the result of intensive search efforts, including CCTV reviews, helicopter searches, and public sightings. The police received numerous calls from people offering information, and Khalife was eventually detained about 14 miles from the prison.
Overall, the incident has raised questions about security protocols in UK prisons and the conditions of these facilities.