The POA are in disbelief that a rogue Deputy Governor at an establishment in HMPPS have selected a prisoner as part of an interview board to determine the suitability of prison officers for a particular unit within that prison and ignored a national official of the POA to pull back from this ridiculous position.

Steve Gillan, General Secretary stated;

“In my experience this crops up every so often where the POA must object to silly managerial decisions on behalf of our members. This is one of those occasions, parading prison officers before prisoners on interview panels to determine their suitability for a particular role in their employment is not needed or indeed appropriate. It is outrageous and certainly not the norm and could bring the service into disrepute. This sends the wrong message not only too prison officers but the general public as well. I'm sure the general public will be outraged that this is taking place in the prison service. It is political correctness gone mad and we request the Secretary of State for Justice to intervene and give clear direction that this should not take place in future. The Governor in question has indicated that he intends to use this practice again. To get the endorsement of a prisoner on an interview board is just not credible.

The POA are saddened that we have had to go public on this issue as there are far more important issues such as violence against our members and a lack of staff that prevents prison officer grades running regimes and addressing offending behaviour of prisoners in our care. We will be seeking a meeting with the Prison Minister and the Secretary State for Justice and this among other issues will be on our agenda. We as a responsible trade union want to concentrate on the big issues within the prison estate not individual Governors making ridiculous decisions like this which not only undermine the work of prison staff but makes the service look silly”.

Mark Fairhurst National Chair stated;

“This is yet another example of a Governor who thinks national agreements can be ignored. We already agreed some months ago with the employer that this practice was inappropriate and sends out the wrong message to victims of crime and the wider general public. Promotions should be awarded on merit and not because of some fantasy idea from an out of touch senior manager. I would think this is all embarrassing for the new Justice Minister Brandon Lewis who is attempting to bring common sense, control and order back into our prisons. Perhaps this Governor has forgotten they are working for a law enforcement agency. My members are professionals and need to be treated as such instead of being subject to an individual’s social experiment that makes no sense whatsoever”.



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.