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To ask the Secretary of State for Justice
(1) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Prison Service's policy on zero tolerance on violence;
(2) what checks are in place to ensure the accuracy of reporting of assaults on Prison Service staff.
NOMS is folly committed to zero tolerance to violence in prisons. No act of violence is acceptable, be it verbal, physical or directed at property. Zero tolerance is a proactive approach to reducing violence in all its forms, in our prisons, and is subject to ongoing and robust monitoring.
The Incident Reporting System (IRS, now integrated on to the NOMIS system) is used to record events that undermine the safety of those within an establishment. Assaults are one category of IRS data. The data-entry process is largely reliant on each establishment accurately recording incidents as they occur.
Every assault incident entered onto NOMIS is subject to a central check to ensure that the incident has been reported correctly on the reporting system. If the incident has been reported incorrectly then the establishment is contacted and asked to rectify the error. Once the incident has been entered correctly it is locked and the establishment is no longer able to modify the incident report without contacting NOMS HQ. At regular intervals NOMS HQ will follow up any outstanding incidents with establishments to ensure they are captured accurately and in full.
NOMS uses NOMIS data to undertake quarterly monitoring on levels of violence, referrals to the police and the number of successful prosecutions.
NOMS is committed to open reporting and since 2009 data on violence in prisons has been published in the Ministry of Justice Safety in Custody statistics.