Press Contacts

Mark Fairhurst - National Chair:
Mobile 07968 108284

Steve Gillan – General Secretary:
Mobile 07971 838590

Glyn Travis - Press Officer:
Mobile 07968 324045

POA Press Office:
020 8803 0255 Option 7

POA Press Releases

157 01 Aug 2017



On the 31stJuly 2017 prison staff from across the prison estate attended The Mount Prison to deal with the situation that has created havoc in the prison and put more pressure on the leaders of HMPPS as criticism mounts on a Service in crisis.

The Mount opened in 1987 and holds around 1000 prisoners the majority of which are deemed to pose no risk to the public in the Category C Training prison.

In February, it was reported that The Mount had 24 officer vacancies from a total of 136 to supervise 1000 prisoners 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Staffing levels imposed under the Benchmarking program in 2012.

Independent reports had warned of trouble brewing at The Mount in the last three weeks but no one appeared to listen.

Recent independent reports into the prison have highlighted serious problems due to staff shortages, drugs, increased levels of violence and prisoners spending more time locked up.

The incident involved more than 200 prisoners at some points and it took more than six hours to resolve the situation, although early reports suggest that more than a hundred prison places have been lost.

HMPPS has been under mounting pressure as they continue to struggle to recruit and retain staff. Reports earlier this year blamed staff shortages, violence and drugs as the underlying cause of riots/serious disturbances at Aylesbury and Bedford prisons. The latest safety custody statistics released last week for prisons in England and Wales continue to highlight the growing problems of drugs, violence and self-harm in our prisons.

Mark Fairhurst Acting National Chairman of the POA said;

“The Prison Service is in disarray; this type of unrest underlines the problems in our prisons and has significant ramifications for the tax payer and local community.

We have lost around 8000 staff since 2010 while the prison population has increased.

The Government has allowed and condoned the actions of the Prisons Board to meet the demands of year on year budget cuts under the failed concept of Benchmarking. 

Whilst the POA welcome the recent announcement to increase officers this is too little too late. Staff morale is at an all-time low and as fast as the Service recruit new staff, staff leave in their droves.

It is time for the Government to act and act quickly. We need an independent review of the Service to address recruitment and retention, violence, use of drugs and unprecedented levels of self-harm and self-inflicted deaths. 

The Treasury must remove the 1% pay restraint, which has prevented the Pay Review Body (PRB) from making decent and fair pay recommendations.

The POA has been restricted by the provisions of the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act and the PRB were introduced as part of the compensatory mechanisms.”


For further information, contact:

POA Press Office                                                     020 8803 0255 Option 7