The Government is clear that prison officers should have the best possible protection when facing physical violence that is sometimes directed against them. We plan to roll out PAVA, a synthetic pepper spray, to all adult male closed establishments which have fully implemented the key worker scheme – which is vital in building relationships between offenders and staff. PAVA will be rolled out alongside training in a newly developed personal protection system. Additionally we will be making rigid bar handcuffs available to prison officers for use during prisoner control and restraint in the male estate, and body worn video cameras are already available to staff across the estate.
The Assault on Emergency Workers Act 2018 has doubled the maximum sentence from 6 to 12 months in prison for assaulting prison staff. This new law means that judges must consider tougher sentences for a range of other offences - including GBH and sexual assault - if the victim is a prison officer.