National Chair

Feb 2011 | 15.02.2011

Protecting the Health and Safety of POA Members

colinaddress.jpg

I would like to start this month’s article by congratulating Pete Chapple and Pete McParlin on their election to the post of Finance Offi cer and National Chairman. I wish them both all the very best for the future.

The festive season has passed by, but the long term effects of the riot at HMP Ford on New Year’s Eve will remain with the Service and this Union. I would like to thank Mark Freeman, Pete Chapple, Brian Traynor and all of the staff who attended the riot to support the prison when most people in society were out enjoying themselves. I have always believed that the professional men and women of this Union are the most undervalued within the public sector. It is clear that the management of NOMS and Ministers are happy to play Russian roulette with your safety in an attempt to save money. The Prison Service has had numerous riots, serious acts of indiscipline, suicides, self-harm and assaults to name but a few of the problems to deal with but still they insist on driving down the staffi ng levels in a bid to save money. This Union must do all in its power to oppose budget cuts.

Health & Safety

I am no expert in this area but, I recognise that we all have a duty to protect our own Health & Safety and that of others. I have to ask the question, are NOMS and the MoJ in breach of the legislation?

The events of Ford and those that occurred at HMP Littlehey have focused the issue of Health & Safety. Turning to the issues at Littlehey, is it acceptable or lawful for a regime to remain in place following weekly assaults and acts of indiscipline? In my view, no, but clearly those in authority have a diff erent view believing we need to give more carrot and less stick. I am sorry, but appeasement is not the answer. Security and safety is paramount.

This Union will protect the Health & Safety of its members and the NEC demonstrated its total support to the staff at Littlehey when they were being bullied by management to try and impose a regime of appeasement.

Rehabilitation revolution

We have all heard or read about Ken Clarke’s vision. The Green Paper covers his views, which is supported by other organisations and MPs but is Ford the result of the revolution and budget cuts?

Prison closure

The recent announcement to close Ashwell and Lancaster Castle demonstrates the commitment of Government and NOMS to its staff.

Last year, the staff at Ashwell and others from across the Service risked life and limb to protect the prison, prisoners, public and staff. Was it worth it?

Lancaster Castle has been one of the most successful prisons in recent times and the local committee produced a substantive paper setting out why it shouldn’t close, did anyone listen or does anyone care?

On a final note, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those members that voted for me in the National Chairman Election and those branches who nominated me. Thank you for your support.

 

 

Colin Moses
National Chairman