National Chair

Aug 2010 | 05.08.2010

Public Sector Worker's Branded the New Enemy by the Coalition Goverment


Dear Colleagues

Since the General Election you will have seen, read and heard the growing chorus from the media. All the troubles of our stricken economy are caused by Public Sector Worker’s.

This has resulted in the Criminal Justice System coming under the spotlight in a way that has never been seen before.  This Government seems hell-bent on dismantling the Public Sector Prison Service under the pure guise of cost.

The reports of the Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke’s speech on Criminal Justice reform at the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies on the 30th June 2010, failed to report on the question and answer section that followed. Mr Clarke after making what was deemed by many a very liberal speech in regard to future plans for offenders, drifted back to his old Thatcherism beliefs, when detailing his plans for Prisons. He steadfastly defended Private Prisons and PFI builds quoting “It did not matter who you worked for”.

His outlining of the closure of Victorian Prisons and his description of them as HELL HOLES failed completely to address the work done by the professional men and women of our service.  The mantra of Clarke is one that everything private is good and everything public is bad, he fails to recognise the conditions that our membership have been asked to work under.  He has total mind block to the growing violence faced by staff, his whole vision is one of a failing Prison Service that can only be saved by the intervention of the Private Sector.

The Sentencing Revolution and Rehabilitation Revolution he has set out to launch, is predicated on the use of the Private Sector and the Voluntary Sector to do the work currently carried out by Public Sector Workers. 

All of us who are involved in the Prison Service are aware that overcrowded Prisons make rehabilitation all the harder to achieve, Prison Staff look after those sentenced by the Courts. We do not determine the sentencing or length of sentences Mr Clarke’s assertion that prison does not work is one built on that society would be safer with perpetrators and criminals in their midst’s rather than in prison. Mr Clarke may want to spend some time with the victims of what he deems as low level crime.  He may want to sample the fear they feel in their own homes and communities.

The Prison Service can rehabilitate if given the resources.  The current swingeing cuts being carried out in the public sector Prison Service will make for more dangerous prisons.  The public will be at greater risk prison staff will be at greater risk.
Rehabilitation will be driven further back and public sector prisons will become dumping grounds for those that are deemed not fit for private profit. 

Public Sector Workers are being demonised by this Government for having the audacity to draw pensions that they have worked all their life for.  Mr Clarke when talking about emptying prisons of those who are serving short sentences forgets that many of those have been through the Criminal Justice System on many occasions. Community Penalties may very well work. The current plans are based on Payment on Results, what has been missed from this is the definition of what result. Also it will again be Tax Payers money being poured into Private Security Firms who will be given the task to oversee these Community Sentences. How many of this current Cabinet made up of millionaires have money invested in these Company’s? 

We all want to see an improved Prison Service that will not be achieved with glowing words and badly thought out ideas.  Neither will it be achieved by attacking Public Sector Workers and dismantling the Public Services in a way that has never been seen in living memory.


I am pleased to announce the signing of the Joint Statement on Zero Tolerance to violence that has been signed by Mr Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of NOMS and I.  The test of this statement will only come with the actions of NOMS to reduce violence in our Prisons.  The POA is committed to reducing violence and we look forward to NOMS bringing Zero Tolerance to our Prisons.


I would like to Congratulate Mr Terry Fullerton, HMP Holme House on his election to the NEC.

Lancaster Castle
Opening of Dartmoor Learning Centre


Yours sincerely


Colin Moses
National Chairman