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Why we’re all glad to see the End of May

As the PM steps down, Federation National Chair John Apter pulls no punches on the damage she has caused to policing

Theresa May stands down as leader of the Conservative party – she will continue as Prime Minister until her successor is appointed – but in reality, early June marks ‘The End of May’.

Let’s be honest here - for the majority of police officers (myself included) it has not come a day too soon.

Mrs May has made no secret of her thoughts on policing – her contempt and disdain for the profession has been vocal and sustained during her time as Home Secretary, and then throughout her tenure as Prime Minister. Her actions have been devastating for policing, genuinely devastating.

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HMP Bristol Urgent Notification - Prisoner in cell

HMP BRISTOL URGENT NOTIFICATION

 

Commenting on today’s announcement (13 June 2019) by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, that an Urgent Notification has been issued to justice secretary David Gauke over conditions at HMP Bristol, Mark Day, head of policy and communications at the Prison Reform Trust said:

 

“It is shocking that a prison in special measures since 2017 remains in such a state of decline that the chief inspector feels he has no other option but to issue the justice secretary with an urgent notification.

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Static Systems protect custodial facilities – a prison corridor

Static Systems Group’s extensive expertise in developing fire solutions for custodial facilities  is behind the company’s latest innovation: a control system which fully integrates a prison’s fire alarm system with high-pressure watermist fire suppression equipment.

EvoMist™ has been developed by Static Systems in response to the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ’s) latest technical specification, Spec 054.

The system was designed, manufactured and tested at Static Systems’ in-house manufacturing facility in the West Midlands. It is the first integrated fire alarm and fixed misting system of its kind to be deployed in the UK’s custodial facilities, having being installed in early 2019 by Static Systems at a Category C men's prison in the East Midlands where it will protect around 200 prisoners in the facility’s new house block.

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Knife violence

John Apter responds to Ministry of Justice’s knife and offensive weapons sentencing stats

The new Prime Minister must put serious violent crime at the top of their agenda as the number of people caught with knives and weapons reaches its highest in almost a decade, says National Chair John Apter.

Ministry of Justice figures, released today (June 13), lay bare the extent of the serious violent crime wave which continues to sweep the nation.

They show in the 12 months to the end of March 2019, 22,041 possession offences were dealt with by police and courts - 34% up on 2015 and the highest total since 2010.

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Body worn camera on an officer

Prison officers, and those involved inthe criminal justice sector, regularly face aggression, violent behaviour and verbal abuse from prisoners whilst on duty. With assaults on prison staff at an all-time high, – recent figures show an astounding 5,432 cases of reported abuse within in a twelve-month period in England and Wales alone - methods for deterring aggression and capturing evidence are now key.

Edesix VideoBadge Body Worn Cameras have been selected by prison services throughout the UK, including privately run prisons and Her Majesty’s Prison Service in England & Wales, Scotland and most recently Northern Ireland. These lightweight device scan be worn as part of the officer’s uniform, requiring nothing more than a simple swipe of their ID badge to assign a camera which is charged and ready to record video and audio at the press of a button. Not only do these secure, encrypted devices capture vital evidence, they act as a deterrent to negative behaviour, fit seamlessly into the daily routine of the prison officer, and allow secure and simple sharing, redacting, management and storage of footage.

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The National Annual Report being reviewed

INDEPENDENT MONITORING BOARDS NATIONAL ANNUAL REPORT

 

Commenting on today’s publication of the IMB National Annual Report (5 June 2019), Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

 

“This report makes very sobering reading for the new prisons minister, Robert Buckland. There can be no disputing the first hand, directly observed evidence of over 51,000 individual visits to prisons. The report describes a catalogue of failure to deliver even the most basic standards of care and a chronic waste of human and physical resources in our prison system.

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Inmate in handcuffs for safety and officer

The pressures on our custodial system are well documented. The government has pledged funding to address the problem but what can be done now to improve officer and inmate safety?

At the end of last year HMP Birmingham saw what was dubbed the ‘worst prison riot since Strangeways’. Four wings at the privately-run Category B prison were overrun by inmates, riot squads were deployed while prison inmates posted ‘selfies’ of themselves wearing prison officers’ uniforms and showing off sets of keys.

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Knife crime criminal

Police seizing more than 10,000 knives during a week-long campaign has provided insight into what could the norm if the service was adequately funded, says the national chair of the Federation.

All forces joined Operation Sceptre between 11 and 17 March which saw 1,372 people arrested, including 516 for a knife related offence through a series of measures including intelligence-led stop and searches and weapon sweeps.

John Apter, national chair of Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “The staggering amount of knives seized in such a short period of time not only highlights the severity of the issue, but shows just what our hard-working members are able to achieve when they are resourced properly. However, it must be pointed out that operations such like this are only possible if officers are diverted from other vital duties which is a deeply concerning situation. 

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Release On Temporary Licence Changes Announced

RELEASE ON TEMPORARY LICENCE (ROTL) CHANGES ANNOUNCED

Commenting on today’s announcement (28 May 2019) by the Ministry of Justice on the introduction of new changes to release on temporary licence (ROTL), Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

“This is a welcome step in the right direction. More than three years after it was first promised, the government has finally delivered a significant shift towards the greater use of temporary release (ROTL), recognising its proven benefits in terms of preparing prisoners for a crime free life. Prisoners, employers, families and the public at large will all benefit from these changes, building on an exceptional track record of success. There is much further to go—prisoners are serving longer sentences than ever before, and these changes will mainly benefit only the minority who have managed to get to an open prison towards the very end of their time inside. Ministers should not wait a further three years before taking the next step.”