Guarding Her Majesty's Prison (HMP) Rollestone Camp

Event
Thursday, January 1, 1981 - Saturday, January 31, 1981
HMP Rollestone Joint Perimeter Patrol by 2 R IRISH and Wiltshire Constabulary
A Joint Perimeter Fence Patrol by a Ranger and a Wiltshire Constabulary Police Sergeant.

The government passed the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act 1980 in October 1980 in order to deal with the effects of industrial action by the Prison Officers Association (POA). The POA action ran from 6 October 1980 to 20 February 1981 when they refused to receive inmates at any establishment with a population exceeding certified normal accommodation, practiced 'controlled unlocking', and banned overtime by POA members.

The 1980 Act established temporary prison accommodation at Frankland in County Durham and Rollestone Camp near Larkhill on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire in order to relieve accomodation problems for newly remanded and sentenced prisoners being held in police cells. It gave anyone charged with the task of running these temporary prisons the same powers and protection which the prison officers had. By January 1981 there were 352 prisoners being held in HMP Rollestone.

For some four weeks in January 1981, and taking it in turn for one week each, first B and then A Company 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Rangers, with under command a Royal Navy medical team, a Royal Military Police detachment, a Royal Air Force Security detachment (guard dogs) and a contingent of the Wiltshire Constabulary took on the task of guarding HMP Rollestone. Rangers manned raised sentry boxes, the guard room, perimeter security gates, interface gates to prisoners billets, the operations room and the quick reaction force.