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163 | 19.01.2018

CHAOS AND CRISIS IN PRISON SERVICE WITH NO DIRECTION FROM HMPPS

The POA are extremely concerned that lessons are not being learned by the Leaders of the Prison Service and they are badly letting down Governors and indeed POA members who are at the sharp end. The POA agree with the Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke that there needs to be more direction from the top and adequate support with properly constructed plans of action.

In respect of Nottingham Prison where the Chief Inspector of Prisons has written to the Secretary of State for Justice, under the Urgent Notification protocol giving 28 days for a response and detailed action plan comes as no surprise to the POA, nor does the findings at Liverpool prison where capital investment has been neglected along with the very basics of maintenance projects.

Steve Gillan General Secretary of the POA stated;

“It is a sad reflection on this Government and leadership of HMPPS that it takes reports of this nature to hit the media before individuals sit up and listen. Government also need to take responsibility. The new Secretary of State for Justice is the sixth in as many years which shows no commitment or consistency. The issues at Liverpool and Nottingham prisons have been known about for some time but fallen on deaf ears. The POA have consistently raised issues over a significant period of time but been ignored politically and internally at the top level. The staff and Governors at both prisons are true professionals who have been operating in difficult circumstances with no direction or support from the very top. Removing the Governor of Liverpool was not correct as he was highly respected at that establishment by POA members. It appears he has become the scapegoat to deflect attention away from the real issues of lack of support and basic investment”.

The POA believe that throughout the crisis in HMPPS POA member’s dignity remains intact. They are hardworking individuals who do a difficult job under extreme pressure and there is absolutely no blame attached to them for the crisis and chaos that surrounds them. In fact, without their professionalism it would be far worse.

Steve Gillan concluded by stating;

“The new Secretary of State David Gauke starts with a clean sheet but he needs to start listening to the POA as a trade union, as we have the solutions to this crisis and we want an early meeting with him so that those solutions can be put in place as a matter of urgency. We are now at a watershed we cannot allow this crisis to continue unabated”.

Ends

For further information, contact:

POA Press Office                                                     020 8803 0255 Option 7