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The POA urge members to write to their local MP and ask them to support Grahame Morris MP’s Prisons (Violence) Bill, aka the “Safe Inside Law” which returns to Parliament on 25th February 2022.
The POA Union is backing this legislative proposal as “a crucial step in the right direction” to tackle the long-running health and safety crisis in prisons, General Secretary Steve Gillan explained, adding that this bill would “directly improve the lives of our members and other prison staff by reducing the risk of violence against them.”
Attacks on prison staff have soared over the past decade after austerity cuts led to thousands of officers losing their jobs – with over 86,000 cumulative years of prison officer experience lost since 2010, according to Government figures, despite recent recruitment drives. Assaults almost quadrupled between 2014 and 2019 – and, while covid restrictions have since reduced violence to 2017-levels, this is still 180% higher than in 2010.
The normalised workplace violence plus poor pay and an unrealistic pension age of 67 have triggered a prison officer retention crisis.
Easington Labour MP Grahame Morris`s Prisons (Violence) Bill returns to the house on 25th February 2022. The cross-party Bill seeks to place a statutory duty on the prison service and private prison operators to minimise violence, and to enshrine into law the Safe Inside Charter, developed by nine national prison unions including the POA, and other measures designed to maximise staff experience. Morris’s Bill also aligns with the new White Paper by holding Governors directly accountable for staff safety.
POA General Secretary Steve Gillan said:
“The success of this bill has the potential to directly improve the lives of our members and other prison staff by reducing the risk of violence against them. And safer prisons for staff are safer for prisoners too
Everyone understands that prisons can be inherently violent places because they contain violent criminals who are kept, against their will, away from the public by using the threat of violence. But instead of shrugging their shoulders and treating extreme workplace violence as ‘business as usual’, ministers must make every effort to protect the brave women and men who protect the public from behind those high walls.”
POA National Chair Mark Fairhurst said:
“This is an excellent initiative to reduce violence and protect prison staff. The Safe Inside Charter will force prison managers to take the safety of their staff seriously. I am grateful to our parliamentary allies for their support.”
You can find your MPs contact details at the following link –
Deputy General 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.