The POA leadership accept that a General Election has been called and we enter a period of purdah. There is no doubt that the Prison Service and the criminal justice system is under massive pressure from overcrowding. The POA Leadership through Mark Fairhurst National Chair and Steve Gillan General Secretary  have made it absolutely clear at the end of the POA Conference that we will not allow the health and safety of our members to  be put in jeopardy by any attempt to further overcrowd our prisons. We agree with Amy Rees CEO HMPPS and Phil Copple Director General HMPPS, on their red lines and any attempt to breach this will be met with fierce resistance from the POA.

Mark Fairhurst National Chair stated:

“The safety of staff  is paramount. The POA will not allow the powers  that be to breach safe operational capacity levels under any circumstances. We fully support the leaders of HMPPS in their continued stance against breaching operational capacity levels and we will seek legal redress if there is any attempt to replace them or overrule them. For the safety of all POA members working in prisons we will react accordingly to protect their health and safety if any breach is proposed”.

Further the POA cannot rule out a legal challenge and further action on this issue.

Steve Gillan General Secretary stated:

“We are fully aware of the crisis we are in and have been warning against this for several years. Make no mistake we support HMPPS leadership and will take any action necessary to protect our members in any attempt to further overcrowd our prisons under Health and Safety Legislation and indeed legal action”.




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.