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Community calls for government action in response to record high levels of assaults on prison staff

Community - 31st January 2019

Following the Ministry of Justice’s publication of their quarterly ‘Safety in Custody’ report, Community, the largest union in the privatised justice and custodial sector, calls for the government to end the cycle of violence across the prison estate.

The report, covering England and Wales, shows that there were 10,085 assaults on prison staff in the twelve months to September 2018, marking a 29% increase from the previous twelve months. Ten per cent of assaults on staff were serious assaults, marking a 27% increase. The report highlights that 2,820 assaults on staff were committed in the last quarter, making it the most violent quarter since records began.

Community has been campaigning for a safer justice sector, urging the government to commit to minimum standards across contracts alongside better pay and recognition, and training and career development opportunities for staff.

Adrian Axtell, National Officer for the Justice and Custodial sector said:

“These figures echo the experiences of our members, some of whom go to work fearing for their safety. Community recognising this position is working closely with private sector employers to address issues such as pay and reward along with highlighting our members concerns on H&S.”

“High levels of violence result in high levels of attrition, with prison staff leaving the profession for safer jobs. Despite the government’s effort to recruit more prison officers the loss of experienced staff creates greater pressure on remaining officers. The Ministry of Justice need to get a handle on this cycle of violence, and work with us to create a safer justice sector.”