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66 | 29.05.2018


On the 25th May 2018 an Intranet article appeared from the Senior Responsible Officer on the Smoke Free Prisons Project.

Within the article the POA are not mentioned at all regarding the success of the project yet it was a POA Policy and Initiative. Had it not been for the tenacity of the POA NEC and POA Branch Officials up and down the country over a sustained period of time, HMPPS would not have initiated a smoke free policy.

In fact, it was the POA who had to send a pre-action protocol letter on the 23rd December 2015, threatening legal proceedings by way of Judicial Review application in order to bring HMPPS to the table. There is no doubt from the National Executive Committee that had we not issued legal proceedings and kept the pressure on the Employer and Ministers then the prospect of Smoke Free Prisons in England and Wales would not have occurred.

HMPPS attempted to conceal documentation on air quality checks from its staff and our members and we exposed them. To be absolutely clear had the employer listened to the POA then the Smoke Free Prisons Project would have been completed nearly a decade ago.

The POA NEC are not complacent and our Health and Safety Whitley Committee will continue to hold the Employer and Government to account whether it is in relation to second hand smoke, NPS, assaults or any other Health & Safety issue.

I am extremely disappointed that HMPPS decided to try and re-write history on their failed approach on the effects of second hand smoke and attempt to parade this as an Employer led victory when they know that they were dragged to the table by way of a pre-action protocol letter on 23rd December 2015. There is still much work to do on all areas of Health and Safety but the POA NEC are pleased that we kept the pressure on the Employer on this particular issue as they had neglected their responsibilities in the workplace since legislation had been introduced on 1st July 2007, regarding smoke free workplaces.

Please bring this Circular to the attention of the membership.

Yours sincerely

General Secretary