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Steve Gillan – General Secretary:
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Glyn Travis - Press Officer:
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POA Press Office:
020 8803 0255 Option 7

POA Press Releases

PR 114 12 Nov 2015

POA CONDEMN NOMS AND THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE CONTINUED FAILURE TO PROVIDE SAFE, DECENT AND SECURE PRISONS

On the 18th March 2015, following the publication of the House of Commons Justice Committee Ninth Report on Prisons: Planning and Policies. The POA gave NOMS 28 days’ notice to put their house in order.

That Report highlighted the failure of NOMS to address the deteriorating health and safety situation across the prison network.

An agreement was reached on 26th March 2015, setting out remedial action to be taken. However the situation in our prisons has deteriorated still further.

In September 2015 two reports were produced which identify the significant failings of NOMS and Government to provide safe prisons. The health and safety report, prepared by NOMS, disclosed a wholesale failure on their part to seriously address the dangerous and deteriorating situation in prisons.

A further report entitled ‘Safety in Custody Statistics England and Wales’ produced statistics which the CEO of NOMS has agreed are not acceptable.

The headline figures in this report are;

  • Deaths in Custody-up 14%
  • Self-harm-up 21%
  • Assaults-up 13%
  • Assaults on staff (4,156)-up 20%
  • Serious assaults on staff (578)-up 42%

It is not only the POA who have concerns. The Howard League has described prisons in England and Wales as “powder kegs”.

The Independent Monitoring Body (IMB) have consistently reported their concerns regarding understaffing and the inability to maintain safe environments for staff and prisoners.

The Chief Inspector of Prisons has been persistent in his criticism of safety standards.

The benchmarking exercise has not provided safe, secure and decent prisons. Training for First Aid and Fire Fighting for example continues to be at an unacceptable standard.

The POA now give NOMS and the Government 28 days to put their house in order.

A failure to provide safe, secure and decent prisons will result in the National Executive Committee of the POA advising its members on what measures they must take to prevent or reduce risks to their health and safety and to other prison staff and prisoners.
 

End.

 

For further information contact:

POA Press Office                                                                                        020 8803 0255 Option 7

IR-493-15-PM&SG - HEALTH & SAFETY.pdf

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