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Prisons: Crimes of Violence

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL4340, tabled on 21 January 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what have been the trends in the last five years of violent incidents in prisons (1) between inmates, and (2) between prison staff and inmates; and what steps they are taking to remove dangerous weapons from inmates.

Answered on

4 February 2015

NOMS does not tolerate violence of any kind in prison and any assault is treated extremely seriously.

Trends on assaults in prisons (1) between prisoners and (2) by prisoners on officers are published in Table 3.8 of the Safety in Custody statistics bulletin. This can be found in the 'Assaults in prison custody 2000 to 2013' statistics. Statistics to show assaults in prison custody for 2014 can be found in ‘Safety in custody summary tables to September 2014’ at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/safety-in-custody-statistics-quarterly-update-to-june-2014

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has a duty of care to prevent illicit and unauthorised items from entering prisons. As such, prisons may deploy a comprehensive range of robust searching and security measures to detect weapons, both at the point of entry to the prison or concealed within the prison.

NOMS have put forward new legislation in the Serious Crime Bill to ensure that those who possess knives, bladed or pointed weapons and other offensive weapons in prison can face prosecution under a new criminal offence, punishable by up to four years in prison. The new legislation will provide a greater deterrent against the trafficking of weapons into prison and the possession and use of weapons in prison, strengthening the measures already available to tackle violence.