Assaults on staff rise at prison
Number of deaths, assaults and self harm incidents rise at HMP Peterborough
Assaults on staff at HMP Peterborough have hit record levels it has been revealed.
In 2016 there were 154 assaults on staff at the prison, the highest number recorded since the jail opened in Saville Road, Westwood, in 2005. Figures released by the government show of the 154 assaults, 21 were graded as ‘serious.’
There have also been a record number of ‘prisoner on prisoner’ assaults, with 419 recorded last year, with 60 graded as serious.
The figures also show self harm at the jail is at its highest level since 2011, with 1485 incidents reported in 2016.
There were six deaths at the jail, a record number, with three recorded as being of natural causes and one recorded as self inflicted.
With the exception of self inflicted deaths, which remained static at one, all categories saw a rise compared to the previous year - with the number of serious assaults on staff more than doubling.
In a separate Government report, it was said the prison was meeting a majority of Government targets. The targets were across prison life, and not just limited to safety.
The privately run prison is the only jail in the country with both a male and a female wing. It has an ‘operation capacity’ of 868 prisoners.
In 2015 The Sodexo run jail was given a glowing report by Government inspectors - although concerns were raised about the number of self inflicted deaths. Safety at the prison was rated at the highest level in the report.
An HMP Peterborough spokesperson said a new strategy was being implemented to make the prison as safe as possible.
He said: “We are pleased to see HMP Peterborough broadly performing well against many Government targets. Unfortunately, there was an increase last year in assaults and deaths last year which reflects a wider trend across the prison estate.
“Safety is our top priority, and we remain fully committed to our safer prisons policies. We have also introduced a revised violence reduction strategy.”
Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya said: “It’s concerning that the staff in our prisons are subjected to poor conditions which means not only are they hampered in doing their job, but it makes an unsafe environment for themselves and the inmates as we can see from the latest figures. Cuts to service provision need to be reversed so we can safely house inmates and give staff the level of respect and coverage they need to do their job and bring down these rates of violence.”
North West Cambridgeshire MP, and former Courts Minister Shailesh Vara said: “These figures make for very concerning reading. Neither prison staff nor inmates at HMP Peterborough or any other prison for that matter, should have to fear for their safety. That is why action is being taken by the Government with £100 million being invested to recruit 2,500 frontline staff – a target which appears to be on course to be achieved by December 2018. Additionally, each prison in the UK has received £2 million of funding for hand-held mobile phone detectors and 300 specialist prison dogs have been trained to locate drugs.
“Ensuring that HMP Peterborough has the right number of skilled prison officers and the right resources to address the root causes of violence is key and the investment being put in by the Government should go some way to help address the problems.”