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Prison Officers: Safety

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 23rd March 2020.

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Photo of Antony Higginbotham Antony Higginbotham Conservative, Burnley

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that prison officers are safe at work.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Prison Officers are some of our finest public servants, and we do not underestimate the challenges faced by everyone working in prisons. We are committed to making prisons a safe place to work and providing prison officers with the right support, training and tools to empower them to do their jobs.

We have recruited more than 4,300 new prison officers over the last two years, and this has given us the capacity to implement the key worker role which will help us deal with emerging threats and to improve safety. We’re also investing £2.75 billion to transform the estate, to make prisons safer and cut crime behind bars.

We are rolling out body worn cameras, police-style restraints and PAVA incapacitant spray to prison officers to help them do their job more safely.

In light of recent developments concerning Covid-19, we have put in place robust contingency plans in consultation with Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care. This includes specific advice for staff on steps they should take should they become unwell, or if they have been exposed to Covid-19.

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