The Ministry of Justice has published its latest Safety in Custody report, prompting concerns to be raised with regard to a record high level of assaults on prison staff.

The Safety in Custody series of reports cover deaths, self-harm and assaults in prison custody in England and Wales.

Following publication of the latest figures, the prison officers’ trade union Community, has called on the Government to “end the cycle of violence across the prison estate”.

The report shows that there were 10,085 assaults on prison staff in the 12 months to September 2018, marking a 29% increase from the previous 12 months.

Some 10% of assaults on staff were classified as serious assaults, marking a 27% increase.

The report also highlights that 2820 assaults on staff were committed in the last quarter, making it the most violent quarter since records began.

Commenting on the figures, Adrian Axtell, National Officer at Community said, “These figures echo the experiences of our members, some of whom go to work fearing for their safety. Community, recognising this position, is working closely with private sector employers to address issues such as pay and reward along with highlighting our members’ concerns on health and safety.

“High levels of violence result in high levels of attrition, with prison staff leaving the profession for safer jobs. Despite the Government’s effort to recruit more prison officers the loss of experienced staff creates greater pressure on remaining officers. The Ministry of Justice need to get a handle on this cycle of violence, and work with us to create a safer justice sector.”

Last reviewed 11 February 2019