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205 | 05.06.2019

POA BALLOT MEMBERS OVER DELAYED PAVA ROLL OUT

The Prison Officers Association is to ballot its membership in England and Wales asking them to support their National Executive, in protecting their health and safety by any lawful means necessary due to the delayed roll out of PAVA incapacitant spray.
 
Former Prisons Minister Rory Stewart announced the roll out of PAVA in the adult closed male estate in October 2018. To date, PAVA remains in four pilot sites but has not been rolled out anywhere else. Assaults on Prison Officers remain at record levels and now sit at 28 per day.

The POA are prevented by a High Court Injunction in taking industrial action but maintain they have a right to take lawful action in order to protect their members health and safety.

The MOJ is defending the roll out of PAVA in the High Court on 13th June 2019, due to a legal challenge being funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
 
Commenting on this development National Chair Mark Fairhurst stated;
 
“We have made significant progress on plans to roll out PAVA ever since we issued the employer with a 28-day notice to deliver on their promises. Their plans should have been enacted in January, yet 6 months later we find ourselves subject to a delay. Meanwhile, during the last six months over 6500 staff have been assaulted. How many assaults may have been prevented if PAVA had been operational in our prisons? The employer has stalled for too long and our members are rightly concerned and annoyed. This ballot gives our members the opportunity to display to the employer their discontent whilst supporting the National Executive in protecting their health and safety. There should be no criteria placed on staff safety and we must insist that PAVA is given to staff in our most violent prisons as a priority whilst ensuring the roll out does not take the planned 2 years our employer is insisting upon. Our members deserve to be protected, as do those who inhabit our prisons. Overlooking the juvenile, open and female estate is unacceptable. We want PAVA on the frontline for all our staff and that includes secure hospitals and immigration removal centres. Our members now have an opportunity to act.”


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For further information, contact:
POA Press Office 020 8803 0255 Option 7