Community, the leading union for justice services, has called for more action from government to tackle the prison safety crisis. Government figures released today revealed assaults on prison staff at an all-time high, having trebled since 2013. The safety in custody statistics recorded there were 7,159 assaults on staff, up 1,750 (32%) from the previous year. Serious assaults reached 805 in the12 months to March 2017, up 25% on the previous period. Assaults on staff increased by 5% in the latest quarter to the end of March 2017, reaching a new quarterly record high.
Responding to today’s figures, Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, said:
“These figures are shocking and show just how much risk frontline staff face on a daily basis. There are now almost 20 assaults on prison staff every single day. This situation is unacceptable and unsustainable. Prison officers perform a vital public service and they should be safe as they go about their important work in helping to rehabilitate offenders. The government says that safety is its priority and we welcome that fact but the urgent need for more action is plain for all to see. We want to work with the government and employers to create a safer justice sector but nobody should be under any illusion that this can be done without an increase in prison officers across the public and private sectors.”
The government publishes a ‘Safety in Custody’ report every quarter.