Prisoners watched Coronation Street in cell during hostage siege

Negotiations to end a hostage situation were held up at HMP Risley when prisoners tuned in to Coronation Street (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)

Prisoners watched Coronation Street in a cell during a five-hour hostage siege, newly released files show.

Four inmates claimed they had razor blades and tied their victim to a chair before tuning into the ITV soap.

They made demands for vapes and transfers to other jails, to negotiators but progress was slowed as they broke off to watch television.

The incident at HMP Risley in Cheshire led commanders to consider whether power could be cut to individual cells in similar future incidents.

The stand-off unfolded on August 8 last year, according to an incident log released after a Freedom of Information Act request by

Negotiators went to the scene and a specially trained national unit was also deployed.

They found the hostage-takers uncommunicative as they watched the episode, which dragged the incident out into the evening at the Category C men’s jail.

The men eventually surrendered with no reported injuries to staff or prisoners. A ‘gold command suite’, which establishes communications and procedures in hostage incidents lasting longer than an hour, was closed shortly before 9pm.

A view along wing A of Wandsworth prison. This wing has the suicide netting between each floor. HMP Wandsworth in South West London was built in 1851 and is one of the largest prisons in Western Europe. It has a capacity of 1456 prisoners. (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)

In one hostage-taking incident local staff were attacked with makeshift weapons as violence broke out in a corridor (Picture: Corbis via Getty)

The incident log reads: ‘At the debrief ask if the establishment are able to isolate power in a cell, as it became apparent that the prisoners were happily watching television “Coronation Street” during the incident and this led to prolonged and unsuccessful negotiations.’

The victim is described as the sole occupant of the cell.

The heavily redacted report also states: ‘Incident was very well managed by the Silver Commander and her team, and this was complimented by the Gold Commander.’

The flashpoint was among 12 hostage incidents revealed by yesterday in files released by the Prison Service.

In other cases across jails in England over the past 12 months, a convicted murderer held a knife to another inmate’s throat in an exercise yard and two teachers were held in a classroom.

HMP Risley was said to be ‘close to boiling point’ after two inmates died of Covid-19 and four were hospitalised in March 2021.

Prisoners who took a man hostage at HMP Risley were distracted from negotiations by an episode of Coronation Street (Picture: Bruce Adams/ANL/REX/Shutterstock)

Prisoners who took a man hostage at HMP Risley were distracted from negotiations by an episode of Coronation Street (Picture: Shutterstock)

The Ministry of Justice told the Manchester Evening News at the time that it had taken the necessary precautionary measures at the jail and its priority was to ‘limit the spread of the virus and protect the lives of those who live and work in our prisons’.

Mark Fairhurst, National Chairman of the Prison Officers’ Association, said: ‘These violent incidents highlight the commendable work prison officers conduct on behalf of society in the most hostile and violent workplace in Western Europe.

‘Expecting staff to deal with extreme violence in their sixties is unrealistic and I call upon the Government to reinstate a retirement age of 60 for prison officers.

‘We are experiencing an increasingly violent prison population and must have adequate resources and the capability to respond.’

The Prison Service cites figures showing a sharp fall in the number of times reinforcements have been called in to deal with disorder at jails.

A spokesperson said: ‘Violence continues to fall in prisons, with callouts for tactical support falling by nearly 50% in the last year.

‘Our hardworking staff and decisive action during the pandemic have saved thousands of lives.’

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