Prison Officers: Health

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 28th October 2020.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of band 3-5 prison officers with (a) five to nine, (b) 10 to 14, (c) 15 to 19 and (d) more than 20 years' experience in the prison service have been unable to continue in their role as a result of the fitness test in the last five years.

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

All prison officers who joined the service after April 2001 must pass an annual fitness test in order to remain a prison officer. Staff who do not meet the annual fitness test standard will be provided with advice and support by a fitness assessor on achieving and maintaining the required fitness level. Staff have three attempts to pass before a decision will be required on the individuals’ future which may mean dismissal on medical grounds or re-grading.

For the last five years, we are able to give data on the number of people who have taken and failed their fitness test on the third attempt, as shown in table 1. The data held does not explain how many of these staff were re-graded or dismissed or the length of time they have spent in the service.

Table 2 outlines the number of Band 3 to 5 members of staff who have left the service in the last five years, broken down by their length of service. This could be for a number of reasons, one of which could be that they failed their fitness test and were dismissed.

Table 1 -

Financial Year

Total Fitness Tests Taken

Third Test Fails

2015 - 2016

11,100

12

2016 - 2017

10,790

13

2017 - 2018

11,461

16

2018 - 2019

14,838

19

2019 - 2020

16,614

24

Total

64,803

84

Table 2 –

Grade

Length of Service (years)

31-Mar-2016

31-Mar-2017

31-Mar-2018

31-Mar-2019

31-Mar-2020

Band 3-5 Officers

5-9

217

252

159

101

57

10-14

233

314

264

256

187

15-19

158

157

143

163

167

20-24

210

197

143

143

134

25-29

193

220

213

157

147

30+

116

113

135

130

171

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