28th Jun, 2022

Violence breaks out at prison rated 'fundamentally unsafe' - with six officers attacked

Editorial Correspondent 19th Jul, 2019 Updated: 19th Jul, 2019

VIOLENCE at a prison rated ‘fundamentally unsafe’ by inspectors has been condemned after six officers were attacked and had to be treated in hospital.

One prison officer at HMP Onley near Rugby was knocked unconscious, breaking his nose and losing three teeth, by a prisoner under the influence of ‘unknown substances’.

In a separate incident, five officers were injured when an abusive prisoner launched an attack, biting two of them and throwing a number of punches.

A spokesman for the Prison Officers Association condemned the attacks on Tuesday (July 16) and called for more staff to help tackle violence at HMP Onley.

Andy Baxter said: “This constant stream of violence against our members is not sustainable. Attacks on our Prison Officers are at an all time high.

“Our members at HMP Onley and in prisons across the country do a heroic job out of view of the public, and have the right to go home to their family at the end of their shift, not to A&E.

“Prison governors, directors of the Prison Service and politicians seem to be at a loss at how to reduce violence. We believe the answer is obvious – we need more prison officers in our prisons.

“We need prisoners at HMP Onley and all other establishments to face the full force of the law when they attack our members.”

A Prison Service spokesperson ‘completely disagreed’ they were ‘at a loss’ at how to reduce violence, adding: “Since 2016 we have recruited an extra 4,700 prison officers and staffing levels are at their highest in seven years. We have also invested an extra £70million in security and decency to allow prison officers to do their job more safely and are rolling out incapacitant spray.

“After two unacceptable incidents at HMP Onley, six prison officers required hospital treatment. We will not tolerate violence in our prisons and both incidents have been referred to the police who are investigating.”

A report into conditions at HMP Onley published in March said a ‘vicious circle of drugs and violence’ was making the prison ‘fundamentally unsafe’.

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke said a failure to deal with drugs meant violence was higher than at similar prisons, and had more than doubled since 2016.

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