Surrey

Jailed prison officer on 'elite leaders' scheme

Joshua Bossman-Briandt Image copyright Surrey Police
Image caption Joshua Bossman-Briandt was jailed in January

A prison officer who tried to smuggle drugs and phones into a Surrey jail had been on a government-backed scheme to recruit future leaders, BBC News has learned.

Joshua Bossman-Briandt was on the Unlocked scheme set up to help prison officers become "society's leaders".

He was jailed after admitting eight offences, including possession with intent to supply cocaine.

Unlocked said all candidates go through "rigorous" vetting checks.

Under the programme, recruits work in a prison for two years while studying for a master's degree.

Bossman-Briandt, 41, began work at HMP Coldingley, near Woking, in September 2017 and was among several Unlocked graduates who featured in a BBC News report.

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Media captionThe Unlocked programme offers a salary of up to £30,000.

In 2019, he was removed from the elite programme because of concerns about his academic work.

He was allowed to continue working at the prison but in June a tip-off led to him being searched and he was arrested.

An X-Box, mobile phones, SIM cards and tobacco were discovered in his rucksack, wash-bag and locker, while police seized cocaine, cannabis and diamorphine (a medical form of heroin) from his car.

'Scared of prisoners'

An investigation revealed he had received cash deposits, cheques and bank transfers totalling tens of thousands of pounds.

He said he had become "compromised" after failing to report finding a mobile phone in a cell and started taking contraband into the prison because he was scared of prisoners who threatened him.

In January he was jailed for six years and nine months.

Unlocked said the case of Bossman-Briandt was exceptional, with just 11 out of the original 52 graduates leaving the scheme early.

A spokesperson said: "We expect all our Unlocked graduates to behave in an exemplary way, and will always act if there is evidence of inappropriate behaviour."

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