North Sea Camp prison staff join strike action

Staff at North Sea Camp prison, in Freiston Shore, joined a national day of protest by the Prison Officers Association (POA) earlier this week.
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Liz Truss, Justice Secretary is today (Thursday) due to meet with the POA after a day of protest was organised on Tuesday with up to 10,000 staff walking out over a rise in violence within the prison system.

A High Court injunction later that day ordered the staff to return to work.

The POA had directed its members to stop working after it said talks with government over health and safety concerns broke down - however, it is illegal for officers to strike.

Prison Officers Association branch chairman for North Sea Camp Teresa Hill told the Standard that they had ensured that there were enough staff remaining in work over the planned 24 hour period to keep the Category D Open Prison safely working.

She said many staff had concerns over the rise in violence against both fellow prisoners and prison staff, and ‘acute staff shortages’. She also noted drugs and absconder problems within prisons – however told The Standard that North Sea Camp did not have as much of an issue with these compared to other prisons.

She said the staff had returned to work as soon as they were instructed by the union.

The Ministry of Justice had been holding talks with the POA on a range of measures to improve safety and there was another meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

The department at the time said the POA had ‘failed to respond to our proposals and walked away’.

The Government has already announced an extra 2,500 more officers ‘to strengthen the frontline and improve safety along with new measures to tackle the use of dangerous psychoactive drugs, illegal phones and drones in our prisons’.

A White Paper introduced earlier this year by Ms Truss detailed a £1.3 billion investment in the prisons service.