The POA since March 2020 have worked collaboratively with HMPPS and other employers to find solutions in keeping prisoners and staff safe during the pandemic. Difficult decisions have had to be made in our workplaces which replicated Government lockdown in our communities but there are many inconsistencies with the second National lockdown that clearly will not assist in dealing with the pandemic and the rising cases in our prisons of both staff and prisoners.

Steve Gillan POA General Secretary stated;

“We will continue to work with our respective employers to ensure preservation of life, but it is absurd for Government to say this is a National lockdown when it isn’t. Courts are still open, indoor Prison Gyms are open, visits are open in the YCS estate but not running in the female estate or adult estate. Evidently Public Health England agrees it is fine to open Gyms in prisons but not the community it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever”.

The POA know that restrictions on prisoners need to be balanced and do not want to see unnecessary restrictions but to preserve life our prisons should reflect what is happening in our communities.

Mark Fairhurst POA National Chair stated;

“The need to balance the stability of our Prisons and the mental wellbeing of those in our care is a fine line but must be balanced against the threat of a deadly virus that is on the rise in our Prisons. If gyms in our communities are not safe to open, then I fail to see how Prison gyms can be any safer. We will continue to work constructively to ensure staff and prisoners are protected from the threat of COVID”.



For further information, contact:
POA Press Office 020 8803 0255 Option 7

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.