Prison escort GEOAmey on agency hunt after murder suspect escaped

A prison escort company is holding meetings with agencies as it reviews its comms support in the face of growing media scrutiny.

Media scrutiny: prisoner escaped from a GEOAmey van (PA Photos)
Media scrutiny: prisoner escaped from a GEOAmey van (PA Photos)

GEOAmey, which formed as a joint venture last year, hit the news this week when John Anslow, a prisoner charged with murder, escaped from one of its vans after it was ambushed by three men wielding sledgehammers.

A GEOAmey spokeswoman said: ‘We are reviewing our comms – assessing our consultative support.’

She added that the company was defining its requirements, and hoped to have an agency in place soon.

The company currently uses several individual consultants and is looking to consolidate all of its comms under one agency, which is expected to offer media relations and public affairs expertise.

The successful agency will also provide a press office function and crisis comms support should the need arise.

Last March, the Ministry of Justice awarded GEOAmey contracts to provide prison escort and custody services across three regions of the UK, in an agreement worth up to £900m over a period of up to ten years.

However, in October, it was revealed that its prison escort vans were often too large to access court docking areas. One judge called the situation ‘an absolute farce’ in The Times.

GEOAmey is a joint venture between GEO’s wholly owned subsidiary, GEO Transport, and Amey, a UK public services provider.

The privatisation of prison services is currently under discussion. Seven companies, including GEOAmey’s parent, are bidding to run nine prisons in England and Wales over the next 15 years.

If the deals go through, they would represent the largest single privatisation in the prison service.

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