Please note: Social visits have resumed at this prisonYou can find updated information on timeshow to book, and what to expect below. Purple Visits video calls are available. You can also take a look at other ways to keep in touch.

If you need support:

You can contact the Pact Family Workers at HMP Belmarsh directly by filling in this form. You can also email the team at HMP Belmarsh directly by emailing [email protected].

For more information, support and advice on all aspects of the justice system, you can contact the Prisoners’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003 (9am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am – 3pm at the weekend).

See some information that needs updating?

If you notice anything that is incorrect on this page, please contact us on [email protected] Any further information can be found on the prison website at www.justice.gov.uk/contacts/prison-finder/belmarsh or you can ring the main switchboard on 020 8331 4400.

***

    Address:

    HMP Belmarsh

    Western Way

    London SE28 0EB

    Governor: Jenny Louis 

    Visits' Governor: John Twomey

    Visitors’ Centre Telephone: 020 8331 4400 (please ask for extension 4682)               

    Visitors’ Centre Email: You can contact Pact at this prison by emailing [email protected] or by completing this contact form.

    Visiting Times

    Face to Face Social Visits

     Purple Visits

    Monday

                         No visits

    No Visits

    Tuesday

    09:15-10:00

    11:00-11:45

    Purple visits

    14:00-14:30

    14:45-15:15

    15:30-16:00

    Wednesday

    09:15-10:00

    11:00-11:45

    Purple visits

    14:00-14:30

    14:45-15:15

    15:30-16:00

    Thursday

    09:15-10:00

    11:00-11:45

    Purple visits

    14:00-14:30

    14:45-15:15

    15:30-16:00

    Friday

    9:15-10:00

    Closed

    Saturday

    09:15-10:00

    11:00-11:45

    Purple visits

    14:00-14:30

    14:45-15:15

    15:30-16:00

    Sunday

    No visit

    Purple visits

    14:00-14:30

    14:45-15:15

    15:30-16:00

    Until further notice there are no visits at the weekends and bookings are only made 2 weeks in advance.

    Legal visits 

    Visiting Times - Legal visits

    Monday

       No Visits

    Tuesday - Thursday

    09:30-11:00    14:30-16:00

    Friday

    09:30-11:00

    Saturday

      No Visits

    Sunday

      No Visits

    Booking a visit:

    To book your social visit

    Telephone: 0208 331 4760

    The booking line is open Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 15:00pm,you will only be able to book a week in advance and not within 48 hours due to admin constraints.

    This prison is not currently accepting online bookings.

    Online: www.gov.uk/prison-visits

    You will need:

    • the name and date of birth of the person you would like to visit,
    • their prison number,
    • dates of births for all the visitors coming with you.

    All visits must be booked in advance. Only those visitors whose details have been listed on the Prisoner’s Authorisation Contact List (as provided by the prisoner) and those whom are named on the booking will be allowed entry into the prison. 

    Prison staff cannot add visitor(s) to a Prisoner’s Authorisation Contact List without the consent / authorisation of a Prisoner.

    Adults and children must all have Identification; for more information regarding Identification, please see Identification Policy below.

    To book legal visits

    You can book face to face legal visits by telephone or email as below.

    Booking line: 02083314475 (The booking line is open Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 15:00pm.)

    Online: [email protected]

    For visits through legal visits please contact [email protected] to check availability as we have increase our capacity for these appointments.

    • To reduce footfall we currently are only allowing 1 legal visitor per visit. (Exceptions apply)
    • We have only 6 legal appointments for each AM and PM session.
    • Please adhere to the social distance markings on your arrival and follow staff instructions throughout your visit.
    • Visitors will be required to wear their own face masks (Anyone with exemptions please inform the booking staff.)

    Booking will only be 3 weeks in advance and not within 48 hours. Official visitors must only bring in paperwork or other equipment (including laptops) that is essential for the visit.  Equipment that must be brought in will be sanitised using alcohol wipes or similar.  

    Who can visit?

    Please be aware that there are many differences with how your visit will be due to government guidelines on social distancing and controlling the virus. These changes are:

    • Visits will be restricted to maintain close family ties at the start.
    • visitors can be from two different households
    See the source image

    A single adult (aged 18 or over) who must be: a partner, parent, foster-parent, grandparent, carer, or significant other.1

     

     

     

    See the source imageSee the source image

    Two adults (aged 18 or over) who must b:e two parents, two foster parents, two grandparents, two adult immediate relatives or significant other1, or a mixture of these (e.g. a parent and a grandparent), but all visitors 

     

     

     

     

    See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

     

     

    A single adult (aged 18 or over)  who must be: a partner, parent, foster-parent, grandparent, carer or adult close relative or significant other;1 and

     

    up to two dependent children (e.g. son, daughter) of the person being visited

     

     See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

     

     

     

     

    Two adults (aged 18 or over) who must be: two parents, two foster parents, two grandparents, two adult immediate relatives or significant other1, or a mixture of these (e.g. a parent and a grandparent); and

     

    one dependent child (e.g. son, daughter) of the person being visited

     

    • All visitors will be given a surgical mask at the point of entry to the prison. All personal face masks must be left in the lockers.
    • Anyone who is showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted to visit.
    • Visits will be 45 minutes long at the moment. This is due to increased cleaning regimes.
    • The toilets in the Visitors' Centre will be open but not in the visits hall.
    • Please ensure to arrive early as anyone late will not be admitted.
    • Please adhere to the social distance marking on your arrival and follow staff instructions throughout your visit.
    • There will be no snack bar open.
    • The child play will be closed.
    • Visits will be strictly non-contact. Please bear this in mind when bringing young children. Any breaches of this policy may result in immediate termination.
    • Purple visits will be running in the afternoons as before.

    As stated above, these regulations may seem harsh, however they are there for the safety of you and the person you are visiting and to minimize any risk of a COVID 19 outbreak inside the establishment.

    These regulations will be regularly reviewed by Headquarters in conjunction with Public Health England. We will communicate any changes out to you as soon as possible.

    Any questions or concerns please contact the booking line: 0208314760

    Visits will only be allowed by people who are symptom free, who have not been asked to self-isolate and who have not recently come into contact with anyone who has symptoms or is self-isolating.

    Only 1 official visitor will be allowed at any one time with occasional exceptions. Prisoners  for legal visits, will be collected the same as for social visits and will be issued with a mask on collection.

    Visits will prioritise re-establishing face-to-face contact with close family members (or significant others) This may comprise of one of the following grouping combinations only:


    Visits will not therefore be allowed from:
     

    • Three adults
    • Unaccompanied children (Exceptionally, at governor’s discretion over 16 will be permitted)
    • People who are not closely related to the prisoner or identified as a significant other.

    At your visit

    In order to keep visitors, residents and staff as safe as possible, there will be a number of new rules and guidelines which have been put in place by the prison service. Download our quick guide to help you with what to expect at your visit.

    HMP Belmarsh have produced a notice to families about social visits and social distancing during post lockdown visits which you can read here.

    NOTICE: As of 28th May 2021 there have been changes to rules around physical contact during visits and on the number of households who can visit someone in prison.

    Physical contact

    Children aged 11 and under will now be allowed to hug the loved one they are visiting in prison. There are no restrictions to the contact children under 11 can have, if it is in line with the prison’s normal rules. Children can leave their seat but will need to stay in the area marked out during the visit.

    From 22nd July 2021, prisons in England and Wales can begin to allow visitors who test negative for Covid-19 to have physical contact with the person they are visiting. 

    In order to have physical contact, you will be required to show a negative Covid-19 test result for a test taken on the day of your visit. The testing is voluntary, but it will help prisons identify potential cases of Covid-19 before they come into the prison and therefore reduce the chances of reducing prison regimes in the future. 

    Visitors who choose to be tested will do so when they arrive at the prison, or alternatively, can take a test in the community or at home on the day of their visit. Visitors who take a test at home must provide evidence of their negative test result. If you test negative, you will be allowed physical contact with the person you are visiting. Each prison will decide individually what physical contact is allowed, based on pre-Covid-19 visiting policies, so physical contact may differ from prison to prison.

    If you test positive for Covid-19, your visit will be postponed. You will be able to rebook after your isolation period. Visitors will be given information on where to get help and support.

    To protect prisons, visitors are encouraged to access the widely available twice weekly rapid testing in the community. 

    You can read more about testing to physical contact here: https://www.prisonadvice.org.uk/News/testing-for-physical-contact-what-does-it-mean-for-you.

    Expansion of visits

    Visitors from two households can now visit a person in prison at the same time. You can find out the maximum number of visitors allowed on a visit by contacting the prison directly. Adults and children who are over 11 must continue follow social distancing rules from the person you are visiting in prison.

    For more information

    You can view the updated guidance here.

    Visitors' Centre

    All belongings have to be left in a locker in the visitors' centre whilst on your visit to Belmarsh prison. Lockers use a £1 coin to lock which you will need to bring along with you to the visit, as the Visitors’ Centre has limited change. You can also use the trolley tokens for lockers if you have one.

    Family Support from Pact

    Pact family support will be available by email and you can access this by contacting [email protected]. If your issue is complex and you need to talk to us in person, please include your number in the email and tell us that you would like a call back - it would also be helpful if you could let us know whether we are able to leave a message if there is no answer - and we will aim to get back to you as soon as we possibly can. If you have urgent concerns about the welfare of your loved one in prison, please call the prison Safer Custody line directly.

    You can also contact the Prisoners’ Families Helpline for advice and support on all aspects of the criminal justice system:

    • Call 0808 808 2003 (9am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am – 3pm at the weekend)
    • Email the team on [email protected]

    Other ways to keep in touch

    Phone

    Depending on their status, prisoners receive a personal allowance which they may use to buy PIN credit to call family members. You may wish to post any telephone numbers to the prisoner as you will not be able to write these down on a visit.

    To speak to a prisoner on the phone, the prisoner has to call you using a prison phone. Prison staff can listen to and record most types of call. However, some calls aren’t monitored, for example, when a prisoner calls a legal advisor.

    Letters

    Letters to prisoners should be addressed to: 

    HMP Belmarsh

    Western way

    London

    SE28 0EB

    (Prisoners name and prison number)

    You must write your own name and address on the back of the envelope or it will not be delivered to the prisoner.

    If you do not know the prisoners’ prison number, please address the envelope as above with the prisoner’s date of birth next to his name.

    You could also post in writing material for him to use to write back.

    Email

    Belmarsh uses a service called Email a Prisoner, which can be accessed here. Through this service, family and friends can email a message that will be printed out and delivered by prison staff within days of sending it. You need to buy a minimum of £5 credit in order to use the service, which runs at a cost of 40p per email. Prisoners are not able to reply via email.

    Voicemail

    Family members and friends can sign up to Prison Voicemail, a service which allows social contacts to exchange voicemails with prisoners. On signing up, you will be given a unique local landline number you can call at any time to leave a message; this message will be instantly available for the prisoner to listen to. Prisoners can check their messages by dialling the same unique number from any PIN Phone in the prison and may leave a reply. When the message has been heard, the family member receives an instant text notification, signalling that they may leave another message.

    In order to access messages, the prisoner pays the cost of a landline call, but the cost of the service itself is paid by the family or friend.

    Security checks

    All visitors, including children, will be subject to search procedures as a condition of entry.  Your co-operation is essential as failure to comply with searching procedures will result in you being refused entry; if you are already in the prison, your visit will be terminated and you will be escorted from the establishment.

    You may be required to have your finger or thumb prints scanned as part of a security check. You may also have an iris scan.

    Sometimes you will be sniffed by security dogs. Make sure you wear clothes that are not contaminated by any form of drug as you will be returned to the Visitors’ Centre and will not be able to have your visit. You may also be searched by a prison officer (of the same gender).

    Any odours or substances deemed illegal or alcohol on visitors will mean they are not admitted to the prison. Please be aware drinking heavily the night before your visit may mean you still smell of alcohol.

    During your visit, officers will be with you throughout and will open and lock doors in front of and behind you at all stages.

    Identification Policy

    You will need to bring one or more forms of identification with you to all your prison visits.

    If you have photographic identification (ID with your name and picture on - for example, a passport or driving licence) then you will only need to show this one form of ID. You can find a list of acceptable types of photographic ID in List A below

    If you do not have photographic identification, you will need to show two different forms of ID before you are allowed to visit. You can find a list of the acceptable forms of non-photographic ID in List B and List C below

     

    List A: Acceptable types of photographic ID

    You can use any one of the following documents with your photograph on:

     

    If you aren't able to provide one of the ID documents listed above, you will need to provide two different forms of ID – one from List B and one from List C.

     

    If you don’t have photographic ID you must provide one of the following ID documents:

     

    List B

    • A Home Office travel document (convention travel document, stateless person's document, one-way document or a certificate of travel).
    • An older person's bus pass.
    • Freedom Pass.
    • Proof of age card recognised under the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS)without a unique reference number.

     

    In addition to one of the above documents, you will also need to provide one of the items from the following list:

     

    List C

    • Your birth or adoption certificate.
    • An education certificate from a regulated and recognised educational institution (such as an NVQ, SQA, GCSE, A Level or degree certificate)
    • A rental or purchase agreement for a residential property (signed and dated).
    • Your marriage or civil partnership certificate.
    • A bank, building society or credit union current account card (which has your name on it).

     

    Any combination of the above documents should be accepted, but you will need one from List B and one from List C.

    Children’s Identification Policy

    Anyone under the age of 18 will not be able to make a visit alone and must be accompanied, unless visiting a parent by special arrangement.

    Visitors under 16 do not require ID. Those over 16 years old must provide photographic ID and proof of address or at least 2 of the above listed. Lack of Suitable I.D will result in their visit being refused.

    Since March 2012, Belmarsh have used a biometric system where visitors’ finger prints and facial photos will be taken on the first visit. These are then used for proof of ID for any later visits, however, it is important to always bring your photo ID and proof of address with you.

    Dress code

    Please note, there will be extra restrictions in place during the Covid-19 pandemic, including visitors being required to wear face masks during visits.

    For security, health and safety reasons, some prisons have a specific dress code for visitors and others have a more relaxed policy, making assessments on a case by case basis.

    At the time we compiled this information, the dress code at Belmarsh was stated as follows:

    • no see through or revealing clothing
    • no torn or frayed jeans
    • no open toed shoes, sandals or sliders
    • skirts, dresses and shorts must not be any higher than just above the knee
    • no low cut tops or short tops that reveal the stomach
    • no vests to be worn on their own that reveal underwear
    • no clothing bearing slogans that can be deemed racist, insulting or derogatory language
    • no uniforms (except children in school uniform and police officers on a legal visit)
    • no watches
    • no cufflinks
    • jewellery must be kept to a minimum (use a ten pence piece as a guide for size of earrings)
    • no chains that resemble key chains
    • no ponchos
    • no baseball caps
    • no damaged clothing
    • no sunglasses
    • no fluorescent tops
    • only one pair of trousers to be worn at any one time
    • no diaries

    Please be advised that any tear or fraying, however slight (designer or otherwise), in your clothing will mean you are not permitted to enter the prison.

    What can I bring in for my children?

    Please note, some of these rules may have changed during the Covid pandemic. Please contact the prison to confirm.

    You can bring nappies, dummies, wipes and baby milk in for your children. These items will have to be bagged and sealed by enrollment.

    Food and drink

    Please note, some of these rules may have changed during the Covid pandemic. Please contact the prison to confirm.

    A selection of hot and cold beverages are available, as well as sandwiches, snacks, chocolate, confectionery and hot food including noodles.

    If you would like to know more specific information on what you can bring, please contact the prison directly on the details at the top of the page.

    Money

    How do I send money to a prisoner?

    From 2nd November 2020 the way prisoners can send and receive money has changed. You can no longer send money by bank transfer, cheque, postal order or send cash by post to any prison. You’ll need to send money through the Money to Prisoners Portal using a debit card instead. 

    The Money to Prisoners Portal service is free, secure and available in all prisons in England and Wales.

    To get started on the Portal you will need the prisoner's date of birth and prisoner number.

    If you cannot use the online service, you may be able to apply for an exemption - for example if you:

    • are unable to use a computer, a smart phone or the internet
    • do not have a debit card

    You cannot give money to the prisoner during a visit.

    Banned items

    Do not attempt to bring any of the following into prison during your visit:

    • illegal drugs,
    • alcohol,
    • weapons,
    • a camera,
    • a mobile phone,
    • indecent or obscene material,
    • material that threatens the security of the prison,
    • material that is written in code.

    If you are unsure what you can bring, contact the prison directly.

    Financial Assistance for Visits

    If you are on a low income or receive benefits you may be entitled to financial assistance for the cost of visiting your relative in prison. Help provided by the Assisted Prison Visits Unit (APVU). Click here for more information.

    Sending Property to a Prisoner

    Clothing Allowance

    During the pandemic property only allowed for new Prisoners.  On entry to the prison they will be given a 'Unique number' and a list of what is permitted. This will have to be posted via Parcel Force and the 'Unique Number' clearly written on the Parcel with name and Prison number.
    No parcels can be sent in to the prison without the above otherwise it will be returned.

    Prisoners are allowed the following items:

    • 3 x towels,
    • 1 x pair of shower shoes,
    • 1 x bathrobe (no hoods),
    • 2 x pyjamas,
    • 15 x upper wear e.g. t-shirts, vests, tracksuit tops, jumpers, polo t-shirt and cardigans (polo shirts cannot be in black, navy and grey),
    • 14 x pairs of pants/boxers,
    • 14 pairs of socks,
    • 1 x belt - no studs or large buckles (no bigger than Officer’s buckle),
    • 3 x pairs of shorts (sports only),
    • 3 x pairs of footwear, no metal toe caps or steel sole plates, large buckles, bands, tags or taps,
    • 6 x pair of trousers (jeans, tracksuit bottoms, trousers) not black trousers,
    • 1 x coat (not black or thick padding),
    • 2 x prescription glasses,
    • 2 x prayer suits,
    • 2 x prayer caps,
    • 6 x books.

    In addition to the clothing allowance above and not subject to the 28 day rule, the prisoner is allowed clothing for court. Court clothing is defined as the following:

    • 5 x shirts (these may be white, but must not look like Officers’ shirts),
    • 2 x trousers (may be black),
    • 2 x ties,
    • 1 x pair of shoes,
    • 2 x suit jackets.

    Old clothing must be destroyed or posted out (at prisoners’ expense) before replacement clothing is accepted.

    Prisoners are not allowed to have:

    • any clothes resembling a uniform (e.g. black, navy or grey polo shirts, black three quarter length jackets) or with a camouflage pattern;
    • caps, hats, scarves, bandanas or gloves;
    • clothing with slogans or motifs considered to be racist, insulting or derogatory;
    • clothing with sports/team logos or national or cities crests or flags;
    • clothing with large metal tags;
    • clothing that is soiled or contaminated, damaged, torn or cut down;
    • any hooded clothing.

    All prisoners are able to buy the items that they want or need through the approved suppliers, whose catalogues are available in the Prison.

    Any prisoner wishing to have property posted in must first make an application to Property Services in Reception; this means completing an application form. The application needs to include the details of all the property that he wishes to have posted in. Only once the application has been approved should the items be sent to the prisoner. Please note that any parcels received prior to the application being approved will be returned unopened. Photographs and postal orders must also always be posted in. 

    Only court clothes can be posted in without the need for an application being made first. The parcel must be clearly marked as ‘court clothes’ and cannot contain any other additional items. Court clothes are defined as the following:

    • suit trousers or skirt,
    • shirt or blouse,
    • jacket,
    • tie,
    • shoes,
    • belt (no large buckles).

    Should there be any additional items within the package, it will be returned, and nothing will be passed on to the prisoner. Please note that court clothes are held in reception until the prisoner is actually going to court. Lastly, jeans, t-shirts and trainers will not be accepted as court clothes. 

    A printable version of this Visitors' Guide is available to download here: Belmarsh

    Further Information

    Safer custody

    If you are worried about your loved one while they are a resident at this prison, you can contact the Safer Custody team on 0208 331 4781. (This line is operated between 8am - 5pm). 

    You may be asked to leave a voicemail. Please make sure you include:

    • Your name.
    • The reason that you are calling.
    • The name of your family member/friend (and their prison number if you know it).
    • Your telephone number (so that the prison can call you back).

    Please wait at least 24 hours for a call back before contacting the prison again. For out of hours Safer Custody matters, please call 020 8331 4781.

    If you have a non-urgent concern about your loved one while they are a resident at this prison, please contact the Prisoners’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003 (from 9am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am – 3pm Saturday and Sunday).