I wish to update you on the roll out of PAVA in the adult closed male estate and would ask you to take note of the enclosed guidance if you await the roll out of PAVA.

Committees in all establishments should take note of the information about the roll out of Rigid Bar Handcuffs.

The POA have engaged constructively with HMPPS in an attempt to relinquish the criteria in place that guides the PAVA roll out. Please be aware of the following confirmation from HMPPS:

There is no intention to change the approach to roll out for most of the adult male estate, including the need for prisons to be signed off on key work and to have completed a satisfactory readiness assessment. To depart from this criteria would jeopardise the successful roll out by making HMPPS more vulnerable to legal challenge.

HMPPS is satisfied that the risks in High Security prisons are such that mitigating steps are necessary, and that it is legitimate for that to include alternative approaches to PAVA deployment in this part of the estate. Therefore, the PAVA roll out timetable has been revised to bring forward the six High Security prisons as a priority.

In addition, Dedicated Search Team (DST) staff at the High Security prisons are being prioritised for PAVA training, and have been authorised to be issued with PAVA as soon as the local DST have been trained, rather than applying the usual 50% minimum for staff training before PAVA is issued.

There is a further important step HMPPS are taking across the wider adult male closed estate. HMPPS are now setting a minimum weekly delivery expectation in local training plans of 30 staff per week for each site to meet.

The POA will continue to push for a speedy roll out of PAVA throughout the entire estate. Rigid bar cuffs are not subject to any restrictions and can be ordered immediately and issued once staff are trained in their use.

If you feel you need PAVA due to levels of violence and the threat your members face, please ensure you take note of the guidance contained within this circular and work constructively with your SMT to accelerate the roll out in your prison.

For and on behalf of the NEC.


National Chair


Representing over 30,000 Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers, the POA is the largest UK Union in this sector, able to trace its roots back more than 100 years.