Community, the union for justice sector professionals, will today hold a crisis summit as violence against staff in the sector hits breaking point.
Thousands of Community members work in the prison sector, secure immigration centres, young offender institutions, secure training centres, courts and prisoner escorting and electronic monitoring services.
For years, staff have seen working conditions deteriorate and their safety put at ever greater risk. The latest official Ministry of Justice statistics show that last year, assaults on prison staff rose 36%, with a staff member being ‘seriously’ assaulted almost twice every day.
Today’s summit will decide the future strategy of Community’s ‘Safe Operating Solutions Charter’ campaign. The charter calls on government and the service providers to ensure minimum safety standards within the private justice sector.
Speaking ahead of the summit, Adrian Axtell, Community’s National Officer for the justice sector said:
“Community has been engaging with employers and politicians from across the UK. Our members have spoken passionately about their experience on the front line of this sector and the need for urgent action.
“Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary, recently announced an extra £10m for prison safety, but this money won’t go to help the thousands of our members who work in private sector run prisons, immigration centres and prisoner handling services.
“The justice sector is in crisis and without urgent action from government and service providers to improve safety we risk serious consequences for staff and prisoners alike.”