Breaking news

119 | 26.10.2018



High Court Action

The POA appeared in the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday 16th October to contest an injunction against POA members at HMP Lindholme who protected their health and safety after two serious assaults on staff. The judge extended the temporary injunction against Lindholme staff pending a trial because he recognised there are serious health and safety issues at Lindholme that needed to be tested at trial. The trial date is set for 11-13th February 2019 at the Royal Courts of Justice.

On the 19th October the POA attempted to injunct the employer due to their failure to negotiate proposed changes to staff terms and conditions, specifically in relation to Youth Custody Estate (YCE), Advanced Prison Officers (APO) and Additional Committed Hours (ACH). Prior to the hearing the employer agreed to all POA demands pending a trial. All their plans are now on hold. The trial is set for 10-12th December 2018 at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Please familiarise yourself with POA circulars 107 and 110/2018.
Both cases demonstrate our commitment to fight for our members rights. We will always defend your health and safety and will not allow the employer to hoodwink you if we feel the deal on offer has no future protections for POA members.


There are many rumours surrounding the roll out of OMIC, especially surrounding Band 4 staff. For an accurate update please read POA Circular 118/2018. Band 4 staff will retain their positions if they so wish.

Pay Award

There is currently a workplace ballot which allows members to either accept or reject the pay award. The ballot will close on 31st October 2018.
Retirement age

We continue to pressurise Government into negotiating a reduced retirement age but await an announcement to do so. We will continue to force this issue and insist that the retirement age of Prison Officers is returned to 60.

PAVA/Rigid Cuffs/SPEAR

The roll out of PAVA, Rigid Cuffs and the SPEAR personal protection package will commence in January 2019. We are still in discussions with HMPPS about acceptable timescales and prisons that will be catered for as a priority.

As more details become available the membership will be updated.


Workforce reforms Scotland

The POA membership in Scotland recently rejected workforce reforms that included a professionalisation proposal.

Disputes resolution procedure

We have commenced negotiations with the Employer to gain a new disputes policy that includes binding arbitration via ACAS. Negotiations are ongoing. Once agreement has been reached I will update you accordingly.

Parliamentary Scheme

The final details of this scheme are being discussed with a proposed launch in December 2018. This will mean that MPs will work alongside POA members within their local prisons, so they can experience for themselves the violence, threats and stress that we all face. This can only help our call for a lowered retirement age and better protections for staff. Please contact your local MP and get them to sign up and commit to working in their local prison alongside you.

Safety Statistics

The quarterly safety in custody statistics continue to show a rise in assaults against Prison Officers, which now run at 26 per day.

The General Secretary and I are meeting with the Secretary of State David Gauke in November. We will highlight the unacceptable working conditions you face and insist that he formulates a plan of action in conjunction with the POA to make our prisons safe. HMPPS are clearly incapable of progressing safety initiatives in a timely manner and their expectations that protective measures are rolled out over a prolonged period are simply unacceptable.

Please ensure you work safely and look after each other.


For and on behalf of the NEC.

Yours sincerely

National Chair