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Prisons: Crimes of Violence

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 145547, tabled on 18 May 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps are being taken to reduce the number of assaults on staff and prisoners in Her Majesty’s Prison Service.

Answered on

29 May 2018

Assaults on our hardworking staff and prisoners will not be tolerated. We are taking urgent action to make our prisons safer and address the levels of violence by recruiting extra staff and giving staff the tools to help them reduce violence, including rolling out body worn cameras and trialling the use of PAVA spray.

We are investing £100 million to boost the front line and have surpassed our target to recruit 2,500 extra prison officers. This increase will allow us to introduce a new key worker role in all prisons to support better staff-prisoner relationships.

We are also supporting the Honourable Member for Rhondda’s Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill, which will double the maximum sentence for an assault on an emergency worker, including prison officers.

We have implemented a new drug testing programme and are taking urgent and decisive action to tackle the threat of illicit mobile phones including detection dogs, body scanners and intelligence-led searches. We have invested £2 million in proven and reliable technology to detect illicit items, and we are also taking decisive steps to tackle the use of drones as a supply route for organised criminals to bring contraband into prisons.