Following further arson attacks on staff vehicles in establishments, we wanted to ensure that staff were fully sighted on the ongoing work SPS are undertaking both internally and jointly with Police Scotland colleagues, and provide assurance that these matters are being treated with the utmost seriousness.

Our Public Protection Unit (PPU) continue to work in partnership with Police Scotland analysing all intelligence relating to these incidents in order to try and establish potential links between the incidents themselves or to individuals within custody.  At this time, intelligence would suggest that these incidents are not linked to any one individual or any one group of individuals; however, we continue to build on this information through the ongoing gathering of intelligence and Police investigations.

Fiona Cruickshanks, Head of Operations and Public Protection, has met with Police Scotland previously to ensure they understand our corporate concerns around security arrangements for our staff groups, and a further meeting is scheduled for this week to discuss how we can develop our intelligence products further around these attacks then to agree a joint communication strategy ensuring information is disseminated quickly and accurately. This will also allow us to ensure that SPS are sighted on the most up to date progress in terms of ongoing criminal investigations.  Police Scotland have also been pro-active in carrying out additional patrols in response to intelligence received, and we will be looking to identify how we can build on this moving forward.

We have also asked prison Heads of Operations to carry out new local risk assessments in relation to perimeter security, frequency and timings of patrols (ensuring we are not putting staff at risk), car park access arrangements, car park lighting and CCTV cover to allow us to then engage with estates colleagues to identify what additional security arrangements we can put in place.  In addition to this we are asking establishments to identify areas within their car parks which provide optimum camera coverage, review CCTV signage on entry to prison car parks and to consider realignment of resources to assist with CCTV monitoring and patrols at high-risk times. A meeting between Fiona, Ian Whitehead (Divisional Head of Operations) and establishment-based managers will take place on 12 January to go over the details.

Together, we fully appreciate the impact this can have on staff involved in these incidents and are considering what additional provisions we can provide to ensure staff are fully supported in terms of their personal welfare.  We also appreciate that the wider staff group may be feeling particularly vulnerable following these attacks and we hope the above information will provide some assurance that work is ongoing at both national and local levels to identify those responsible for specific incidents and to further develop our joint response with Police Scotland to deter further incidents of this nature. Both SPS and the TUS are committed to doing everything possible to protect staff and their property.


ALLISTER  PURDIE                                                         PHIL THOMAS  

SPS Director of Operations                                            Trade Union Side Secretary

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.