Prison Officers: Health

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 29th October 2020.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make a comparative assessment of the level of band 3-5 (a) male and (b) female prison officers who have been unable to continue in their current role due to the result of a fitness test in the latest period for which figures are available.

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.

Table 1 shows the number of third attempt failures for 2018-19 for male and female staff members for each quarter. Table 2 shows the same data for 2019 – 20. HMPPS do not currently hold data on how many of these failures resulted in a change of role.

Table 1 -

Year 2018-2019

3rd Test Fails

Male

Female

April – June

1

4

July - September

2

5

October – December

1

4

January – March

0

2

TOTAL

4

15

% of total tests taken

0.02%

0.10%

Table 2 -

Year 2019-2020

3rd Test Fails

Male

Female

April – June

2

7

July - September

0

7

October – December

1

4

January – March

1

2

TOTAL

4

20

% of total tests taken

0.02%

0.10%

The fitness test is designed for the minimum levels of fitness required to perform the role of a Prison officer safely and effectively. Therefore, it is testing physical suitability for the job and is designed to be gender neutral.

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