Prison chiefs at Inverness’s overcrowded jail have awarded a contract for a £147,000 upgrade of the CCTV system.
Last year, the Press and Journal highlighted concern over the existing CCTV system, with Highlands and Islands MSP Edward Mountain questioning the safety of prison officers and staff.
As many as six external cameras were found not be working and required replacement with areas highlighted as requiring “full CCTV coverage” including the main exercise yard, the B-Hall recreation area, the main corridor and reception.
The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) has now awarded Glasgow-based firm Pointer Ltd the £147,416 contract to replace the obsolete system currently in place. They will also install a new video management system.
The new system is expected to use the existing analogue cameras and coaxial cabling – however, as part of the work, the system shall be extended to provide full CCTV coverage in the six areas that are currently insufficiently covered.
An SPS spokeswoman said: “The safety and security of those living and working in our establishments is a priority for the Scottish Prison Service.
“The upgrading of HMP Inverness’ CCTV to a more modern standard is part of routine maintenance and ongoing investment in the SPS estate.
“Work on this project has now begun and will be completed in the coming months.”
Edward Mountain MSP last night welcomed the upgrade – however, he continued to make the case for a new prison based in the Highlands.
He said: “HMP Inverness needs full CCTV coverage to ensure the safety of prison staff and prisoners at this overcrowded site.
“I am pleased that these necessary upgrades are due to go ahead as they will resolve the issue of broken or insufficient coverage in parts of the prison.
“Despite these upgrades, the Highlands is still being short-changed by this SNP Government who refuse to fund a new prison.
“The Highlands needs a modern prison and I am continuing to press the SNP government to deliver it.”
The new £80 million jail is not scheduled to open until March 2023 – two years behind schedule and more than £6 million over budget.