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

168 23 Apr 2018


The POA have reacted angrily to the statement by Secretary of state David Gauke, that was released on 22ndApril 2018, in relation to the recruitment figures of Prison Officers. In a much-heralded report the Secretary of State announced that HMPPS had surpassed the target of recruiting 2500 additional Prison Officers by the end of 2018 and had in fact to date recruited 3111.

POA National Chair Mark Fairhurst commented:

This announcement totally misleads the public and does not highlight the true facts behind Prison Officer recruitment. When the recruitment drive began in 2016 HMPPS had 1500 Prison Officer vacancies and during 2016 and 2017 a total of 3254 Prison Officers left the job. Our employer’s own statistics demonstrate that when the much needed 3111 recruits are taken into account we still have a significant deficit of Prison Officers. Furthermore, we have lost in excess of 7000 frontline staff since 2010 and it is vital that this figure is replaced. Attrition rates in some areas exceed 30% and it is becoming apparent that more and more experienced staff are leaving the Service. The retention of staff is a massive issue and we need to encourage staff to stay in the service by offering higher starting salaries, consistent above inflation pay rises, a return to a retirement age of 60 and the protective measures in place to address violence.

Only then can we start to avert the crisis we find ourselves in. Whilst we welcome the recruitment drive the public should be told the true and accurate picture instead of the smoke and mirrors approach of government”.

If this recruitment campaign is so successful the POA expect an end to detached duty which sees on average 200 staff per week working at establishments that are apparently having difficulties recruiting. If this announcement is accurate then there are no recruitment difficulties and detached duty must end with immediate effect.

The POA are also aware that the employer expects to lose up to 1800 Prison Officers in 2018.


For further information, contact:

POA Press Office                                                      020 8803 0255 Option 7