A member of a prison watchdog has been arrested on suspicion of smuggling drugs and phones into HMP Liverpool.

Police confirmed a woman had been arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office and conspiracy to convey prohibited articles into prison as part of an investigation into the supply of drugs and phones at HMP Liverpool.

She has been questioned and released under investigation pending further inquiries.

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The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) confirmed a member of the prison's Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) had been "suspended pending the outcome of an ongoing police investigation".

But a spokesperson added: "It would be inappropriate to comment further."

IMBs are made up of volunteers tasked by ministers to scrutinise conditions in custody.

They have unrestricted access to jails and inmates at any time after undergoing a year-long induction and security training.

Members are subject to the same vetting and checks as prison staff but references are not taken, according to the MoJ.

Detective Inspector Tanya Kitchen, from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU), said: "We can confirm that following a joint investigation between Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service's Counter Corruption Unit and NWROCU, a woman was arrested and temporarily suspended from duties.

"We will not tolerate corruption or the supply of illegal items to prisoners and will continue to work closely in partnership to ensure anyone who breaks the strict rules in place in our prisons is brought to justice.

"The majority of people working in our prisons are hardworking, honest individuals and we are committed to removing the harmful minority and deterring others from taking a path to criminality that will lose them their liberty and cause harm to others."

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