Political News Updates

13.05.2014

Prisons: Disciplinary Proceedings

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on how many occasions the Prison Service Gold Command has been opened in each of the last 36 months; and what the nature was of each incident that caused it to be opened. [197468]

Jeremy Wright: A Gold Command Suite (GCS) is located at National Offender Management Service (NOMS) headquarters in London. It provides strategic assistance in the managing of serious prison incidents to the Governor of a prison in England and Wales.

 

Reason

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

Hostage

20

27

54

Concerted indiscipline

4

6

13

Escape

1

-

-

Industrial Action

1

4

-

Barricade

2

-

-

Civil Disturbances

1

-

-

At Height

3

5

11

Fire

-

1

-

Barricade

-

-

2

Miscellaneous

-

-

1

Total

32

43

81

 

Although there has been an increase in the number of times the GCS was opened, the number of callouts of Tornado staff (a mutual aid arrangement between prisons who respond to the most serious incidents that cannot be managed locally) is half of what it was in 2007. There has been no rise in the number of serious incidents being attended.

A large part of the increase in the number of times the GCS was opened was for hostage incidents. Many incidents that we manage as “hostage” we believe to be acts of collusion between the alleged perpetrator and victim(s) in attempts to have their demands met. NOMS National Tactical Response Group, which has the specialist skills required to deal with such incidents, is frequently called to attend as a precautionary measure. Many of these incidents are dealt with very quickly with minimal disruption to the prison.