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June 2010

The POA Members’ Magazine The professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers

PRISONS ARE NOT

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2059 - TP214 POA ad:whisper-cc.com

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Injured? An apology won’t pay the bills, but compensation will. If you have an accident at work you may be in for a further blow: the costs. Medications, travel to get treatments, home modifications and lost overtime can soon cost you a not so small fortune. Ruth Hart (above) suffered excruciating pain after accidental knee damage. Says Ruth: “I have never fully recovered. I became very angry about what had happened to me. So I contacted a firm of solicitors I had seen advertising about personal injury claims on TV. At first, they advised me that I might get £5,000. But later said they didn’t think I had a case... I was still very angry.”

Then Ruth was introduced to Thompsons. “The whole experience…was completely different to the other solicitors. I’m over the moon with the settlement and I didn’t have to go to court.” The POA has appointed Thompsons Solicitors, the most experienced personal injury law firm in the UK, to act for its members in pursuing compensation claims. This service is FREE and you will keep 100% of the compensation. Should you need to talk to Thompsons, now or in the future, simply contact your branch official, or call:

0800 587 7515

regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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Introduction

What’s inside…

Gatelodge is published every other month by the Prison Officers Association. It is circulated free to all members of the Association and is available on general subscription. The views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the Editor or the National Executive Committee. The Association does not accept responsibility for any statements made or opinions expressed in any of the articles, papers, correspondence or reports published in the magazine.

Annual Conference

Subscription Rates: Non-members £15.00 Overseas £20.00 Editor: Glyn Travis Editorial Board: Colin Moses, Glyn Travis, Steve Gillan Editorial Office: POA HQ, Cronin House, 245 Church Street, London N9 9HW Tel: 0208 803 0255 Fax: 0208 803 1761 Email: Gatelodge@poauk.org.uk Editorial: Contributors to the magazine are requested to send material for the August 2010 issue by 8th July 2010. Advertising Business Development Manager Juliet Goss 01778 391067 e-mail: julietg@warnersgroup.co.uk

New General Secretary

Production Co-ordinator Sue Woodgates 01778 392062 e-mail: suewoodgates@warnersgroup.co.uk Advertising Design Tracey Mumby

Conference Report-Page 10

Publishing Publishers & Printers Warners Group Publications plc, The Maltings, West Street, Bourne, PE10 9PH. Tel: 01778 393313 Fax: 01778 394748

Editor’s Comments

Editorial Design Helen Mackenzie

Dear Reader Welcome to the June issue of Gatelodge, containing comments from Steve Gillan the new General Secretary. I have known Steve for many years and look forward to a new era of administration under his leadership. We also have a new Finance Officer in Pete Chapple and a number of new NEC members, 2010 and beyond is looking bright for the POA. I hope that you have now had the opportunity to look at and read the 100th Anniversary issue of Gatelodge a true celebration of the POA. The POA’s website has been revamped and I urge you to visit Glyn Travis the site at www.poauk.org.uk there are a lot of interesting and Editor informative articles stored. The recent General Election result has done little for the POA, but we need to engage and influence the political agenda, as we face year on year, budget cuts, a pay freeze for public sector workers and the prospect of further privatisation of our prisons. The Union will need to maximise all strands of communication to inform the public of the problems the Union and its members face on a daily basis if we are to influence change. The 71st Annual Conference will have concluded by the time you read this issue and a report on the disposal of motions is included. It is vital that all members read the report to familiarise themselves with the new policies of the Union and ask their local official for a report back on conference. The problems of violence in our prisons is still a major issue for the POA and whilst we seem to have made giant strides with the Ministry of Justice and NOMS the work has to continue if we are to protect the Health & Safety of POA members. The editorial team is committed to improving the magazine and will continue to report key issues and encourage readers to contribute. Finally, I would like to thank Carol and everyone involved in the production and distribution of the POA’s official journal.

Contents ■ National Chairman

4

■ General Secretary

5

■ General Matters

6

■ POA Conference

10

■ Branch News

22

■ Levy & McRae

30

■ Thompsons

31

■ Obituaries

32

■ Sports Scene

34

■ Postbag

36

Gatelodge 05 contents and eds.indd 5

Yours Sincerely Glyn Travis Editor

June 2010 5 8/6/10 11:56:33


National Chairman

POA 71st Annual Conference The 71st Annual Conference awaits the answers to what a Coalition Government will bring. The POA, like every other public sector union waits with a certain amount of trepidation for what the future holds for public sectors under this new regime. Our conference was the first trade union conference to be held following the General Election result. Whilst we had a wide and varied agenda overshadowing the thoughts of all the delegates, there was a palatable level of uncertainty. Conference was addressed by numerous speakers, including Sir Alan Beith, Liberal Democrat MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed who chaired the Select Committee on the Role of the Prison Officer. Alan was given a warm reception by Conference in recognition of this excellent report. Conference also heard from Mr Michael Spurr, the incoming Chief Executive of NOMS who gave his vision for the future. Conference recognised the exceptional bravery of two POA members in the carrying out of their duties. Neil Walker of Frankland and David Wingfield of Low Newton both acted above and beyond to save a fellow officer and an inmate in diff erent incidents. Both were awarded the Mabel Hempton Award by the POA. The Union took this opportunity to show its recognition; we now await the same recognition to be shown by the employer and Government for these brave individuals. Lord Bradley, the author of a comprehensive report into mental health in the Prison Service addressed Annual Conference. Tom Robson, National Vice Chairman replied on behalf of the POA welcoming this very good report. We only hope that the new Coalition Government implements the recommendations. The theme of Conference was ‘Prisons not for Profit’, a world renowned expert on the folly of privatisation Mr Stephen Nathan, gave a very informative speech outlining the false economy of privatisation. Conference also heard from Dr David Green of CIVITAS, an independent think tank that advocates prison does work. Juliet Lyon of the Prison Reform Trust gave an alternative view to Conference on the errors of imprisoning too many from our communities. Zero tolerance and the recent upsurge in violence in our prisons was debated. We welcomed the announcement by NOMS to stop the sale and distribution of glass containers in the closed estate. We look forward to when this ban can be put in place throughout the prison estate. I hope to soon be signing a joint statement with NOMS in regard to the implementation of zero tolerance to violence across the prison estate. The POA will welcome this initiative. Whilst writing this article, we are still not sure of the view that is to be taken by the new Coalition Government to penal policy. We have requested a meeting with the Justice Minister, Rt. Hon. Ken Clarke, so we can put forward the views of the professional men and women who work in our prisons. The Executive has changed in personnel and I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Mr Glen Birchall

6 June 2010 6 Colin's Page.indd 6

of HMP Manchester and Mr Ralph Valerio of HMP Elmley to the NEC. Mr Steve Bostock of Brinsford takes over as National Vice Chairman and Mr Pete Chapple takes over as Finance Officer. In the last 12 months we have seen four new members join the Executive; we also see a new General Secretary in Steve Gillan as well as two new full time Officers in Joe Simpson and Andy Hogg. The National Executive Committee will continue to fight for improved working conditions and safety of all our members. The Executive will work with any Government that is interested in safeguarding the public sector. We are all too aware of the perilous state of our country, it should never be forgotten that the state of our economy was not brought about by hard working professionals in the public sector. The POA is not politically affiliated to any party, the country has decided and we should all work in the common interest of our communities. The POA wants and demands safe decent prisons, not ones that are overrun with drugs. We want the equipment to stop the influx of illicit mobile phones. We must have action to stop the growth of Muslim gangs or any other gangs that wish to dominate and carry out criminal behaviour in our prisons. Good industrial relations are at the heart of running good prisons, we can only hope that the Coalition Government will impress on the NOMS Board that we must see an improvement on industrial relations starting with a national agreement on resolving disputes.

Branch Visits Gloucester Whitemoor Colin Moses National Chairman

Gatelodge 8/6/10 11:54:34


General Secretary

Annual Conference 2010 It is a great privilege and honour to become the Union’s 6th General Secretary. Our Annual Conference finished on Friday 14th May and tribute was paid to the outgoing General Secretary, Brian Caton. It was recognised by Conference the outstanding work of Brian Caton and he was awarded Honorary Life Membership of this Union in recognition of that work. Annual Conference also recognised the outstanding contributions of Don Wood and Derek Turner who are both retiring, by awarding them Honorary Life Membership. As Mick O’Dwyer stated, they will now join us on the back benches. I am sure all three individuals will enjoy their retirement and I wish them a healthy and prosperous one. This Conference also recognised the outstanding bravery of two of our members by awarding them the Mabel Hempton Award those being Neil Walker of HMP Frankland and David Wingfield of HMP Low Newton. Conference also recognised the distinguished service at branch level of Mick Roe HMP Bullwood Hall, Brian Harrison HMP YOI Castington and Rob Bowman HMP & YOI New Hall. All three were awarded Cronin Clasps. A new Coalition Government has been formed by the Conservative/ Liberal Democrat parties, we know that Ken Clarke is the Justice Minister. The POA looks forward to working with Ministers to ensure that POA member’s interests are addressed and maintained. The economic climate is known by everyone, but it was not created by POA members and we need to ensure that we in the public sector do not become scapegoats on the road for economic recovery. The greedy bankers and speculators were allowed to do what they wanted. The bubble burst, banks were bailed out at our expense and even now they are still receiving larges bonuses. That is not just wrong, but immoral. We have watched the cuts to public sector workers in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Republic of Ireland and we wait to see what this administration has in store for our hard working members. Michael Spurr takes over as Chief Executive of NOMS when Phil Wheatley retires. Mr Spurr was invited to Conference and he spoke about achievements of the past and the difficulties of the future. I was given the opportunity to respond on behalf of the POA to him. You will be able to read what I said in our verbatim report, but in essence, we look forward to working with

Gatelodge 7 Steve's Page.indd 7

him. The POA wants to have good industrial relations and we will continue to strive for that. The Union has as opportunity, along with the Employer, to make that a reality but our health and safety is not for compromise nor is our opposition to private operators bidding for our prisons in this dreadful process of market testing. I also told Mr Spurr about the dangers of job evaluation systems and specification/benchmarking processes if not negotiated properly with the POA. To his credit, he has been brave enough after the horrific incidents at HMP Frankland and HMP Leeds to want to sign up jointly with this Union on zero tolerance to violence. He has taken the first steps on removing glass items from the high security estate and all closed establishments. He is also carrying out a review of our policy on stab proof vests along with personal protective equipment. The next few years are going to be difficult, but if the membership sticks together then we can move forward together with confidence. There can be no room for side issues in the POA. Over the last 20 years we have been riddled with internal disputes. I have not become your General Secretary to become distracted by administering internal complaints. I do not want a situation that while we are busy at the front door negotiating with our respective employers and Government, we are continually watching the back door with internal distractions which deflect the Executive from the job they are supposed to be doing on your behalf. I look forward to being your General Secretary. These are demanding times that will unfold in the coming months. Together we will come through them and we will be a stronger Trade Union moving forward. I will not make any rash promises or predictions but we now have conference mandates to assist us in the process of protecting and promoting the interest of all POA members, irrespective of where they work or what grade they are. We must never be afraid to utilise those mandates to protect our health and safety and terms and conditions. The POA has become a strong voice in trade union circles. Our campaigns need to gain momentum and we need to be more organised at every level of the Union, closer links will be developed and nurtured with other trade unions.

Yours sincerely Steve Gillan General Secretary

June 2010 7 8/6/10 11:55:03


General Matters

Looking to deliver a better service Colleagues, I am writing this article as your Finance Officer and an Officer of the Union, positions I am proud to hold on behalf of the membership. I would like to start by placing on record my personal thanks to Steve Gillan who has managed the financial affairs of the Union for the last couple of years in an exemplary manner. I have learned a lot from Steve and like him, believe the finances of the Union are the responsibility of the NEC and of course the membership; that said, I will continue to look at ways to improve the service to the membership bearing in mind the financial constraints we have as a small union. The POA must always be mindful of the commercial world in which it operates and never underestimate its power when sourcing products and services. As Finance Officer, I will always look to providers that recognise trade unions, support public services and where appropriate purchase goods from Fair Trade organisations. As the POA moves forward our strategy must take account of the political agenda, protecting frontline services, whilst increasing the membership of the Union. I believe that communications within the Union must improve if we are to deliver for the membership in the difficult times ahead. As Finance Officer, I will work with the new General Secretary and NEC to deliver improved communications at local, area and national level. I will continue to look at the current level of service that we provide and recommend changes were appropriate to meet the challenges we face.

The POA must not stand still, we need to develop strategies and policies that will equip us to meet the demands from Government, challenge change from our employers and provide the financial stability and resources to deliver our policies. As Finance Officer, I have identified key issues that will need to be developed if the Union is to remain in the stable financial position that it currently enjoys. I will not be afraid to think outside the box and make recommendations to deliver change and improve the level of service to the membership. I know, I have only just started my term in office, but we can not afford to stand still in the current economical climate considering the result in the general election. The Union has moved on in recent years and I am pleased to be part of a progressive NEC. An NEC that has made some difficult decisions and faced up to some very difficult challenges but we need to rid the Union of personality politics if we are to truly succeed. I will, as your Finance Officer, do my best to support the membership and improve this Union all I ask of you is your support and patience. Pete Chapple Finance Officer

Unlock your Potential: POA Union Learning Conference Colleagues I was proud to be asked to chair the POA’s Union Learning Conference at the Cedar Court Hotel in Wakefield on 7th and 8th April 2010. It was pleasing to learn of the achievements of our learning centres and staff, as 2009 again brought about new awards and recognition for the POA. The Conference was addressed by a number of keynote speakers, but it was pleasing to hear Robin Wilkinson pledge his support and commitment to learning, training and development. During Robin’s speech he touched on a number of key issues and outlined the reasoning behind the decision to close off the Principal Officer grade. It was clear from the delegates’ reaction that they did not understand the logic or financial rationale of the NOMS board on these issues. However, during his question and answer session, Robin did say that if (ULRs) Union Learning Reps are not being given the agreed amount of facility time, ULRs should flag this up to him and he will address the issue. I also learnt that employees now have a right to request time off to train. Now I don’t know if you are considering getting back on the learning ladder or extending your training portfolio, I suggest you speak to your employer and see what support is available to you. The Conference was organised by Angela Sinclair the POA’s Senior Office Administrator and as always, it was top drawer. The contributions of Roy Wildgoose the POA’s project manager for the last eighteen months has been outstanding. Roy’s work with the support of all the staff has put the POA at the very top, in the developing area of the trade union movement. Mark Freeman, Deputy General Secretary, has been instrumental in steering

8 June 2010 8-10 General Matters.indd 8

the Executive and supporting the project and as a result we secured further funding for 2010/2011. The National Chairman, Colin Moses, and General Secretary, Brian Caton, both addressed the Conference, again emphasising the commitment of the POA’s National Executive Committee. It was also pleasing to see Brian Traynor and Glen Birchall of the Executive in attendance. POA Learning has a long road ahead and I have no doubt that it will face many challenges on that road. In May, Philip Kelly will take over as the Project Manager because Roy decided to retire. I have no doubt that Phil will drive POA Learning forward, with the staff and of course the membership. In closing, I want to outline why in my opinion POA Learning is vital to the Union, the employer and the membership. The staff in all our centres are fully committed to learning, they are trustworthy, you can speak to them in confidence and course they are there for you. Glyn Travis Assistant Secretary

Gatelodge 8/6/10 11:57:17


General Matters

Welcome to the 17th Annual TUC Black Workers Conference held in Liverpool 23rd - 25th April 2010 Conferences come and go and this one will be remembered by me for the brevity and informality of the conference sessions. Maybe the settings had a lot to do with it. The city of Liverpool itself is a vibrant city full of active life day and night. The city centre rarely sleeps. I was told by a friend that you can always get what you want in Liverpool if you know where to go and if you don’t, you will always find someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows where to find it. That is Liverpool, a relaxed city, a city that welcomes everyone. It was fitting in my view that the 17th Annual TUC Black Workers Conference should be held here. The Conference Centre itself, BT Convention Centre is quite impressive, adequate and functional, not overwhelming but architecturally imposing, a very beautiful structure to behold, located along the old dock. There was a paucity of notable and memorable guest speakers at this year’s conference. The President of the TUC was there of course. He gave the Conference his best shot. The impending May election was a necessary but serious constraint on any form of serious partisan political debates. As a consequence there was a conspicuous and noticeable absence of any politician of calibre invited to the rostrum. On the whole, such absence allowed the Conference to focus its attention on the more sensitive social issues of our day, injustice in the workplace; inequality of pay between the sexes; mental health of young black boys and girls in our prisons and in our community; and of course the danger posed by the likely success of the BNP if left unopposed in our communities and particularly within the Trade Union movement. There were many more areas of concern. Perhaps more interesting was the information gathered from the fringe meetings concerning the despicable nature of how successive British Governments over the years have treated pensioners in this country. Listen to this, according to the “International Consortium of British Pensioners” successive British Governments have short changed British pensioners living abroad. If you are retiring and thinking of moving abroad, to live permanently, think twice and read on.

The following are their findings, not mine... In their view, currently, almost half of those pensioners who are eligible for a British basic state pension but have retired abroad are being denied their rightful pension (at the last count 540,000 out of a total 1,100,000). Remember that these pensioners have paid their mandatory National Insurance Contributions during their working lives in the UK. Their pension payments are now frozen at the rate which they first collected them in their present country of residence and they do not receive any annual increases in line with the cost of living. For example, if a pensioner began drawing a full pension say in Australia in 1981, in 2010, they will still be receiving £29.60 per week. But the current basic state pension allowance is £97.65per week. In other words, that pensioner has been denied nearly £100,000 to date. Shocking and disgraceful! Formerly, lack of a reciprocal agreement (between the British Government and the Government of the pensioner’s country of residence( was given as a reason for the lack of pension parity. However, several British Ministers in recent times have stated in Parliament that the reciprocal agreements are not needed all that is required is the will of the British Parliament. The situation discriminates between people on the basis of where they live. In 29 EEA countries and 16 other countries (see the list to the right) pensions are up-rated as if the pensioner was still in the UK. In all other countries their pensions are frozen. This means that a pensioner living in the USA receives the full annual increases whereas the one living in Canada does not.

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There are 150 countries where pensions are frozen. Of the 540,000 pensioners living abroad, 485,000, almost 90% live in Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand. This is a violation of British pensioners’ human rights. It is discriminatory, it damages pensioners’ right to full family life, it restricts freedom of movement and it is entirely un-British. Age Concern has estimated that a significant number of the 11 million pensioners resident in Britain would emigrate to join their families abroad if their pensions were properly indexed, but do not want to go because they are afraid that they will become a financial burden on their families as the value of their ‘frozen’ basic state pension deteriorates. Do you still want to move and live abroad? If you must, then below is the list of countries where recipients of British basic state pension do receive their annual increases, exactly the same as for pensioners living in the United Kingdom.

1.

All EEA Countries and Switzerland

2.

Barbados Bermuda Bosnia-Herzegovina

3.

Coratia

4.

Guernsey Isle of Man Israel Jamaica Jersey Mauritius Montenegro

5.

Philippines

6.

Serbia

7.

Turkey

8.

United States of America

9.

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The International Consortium of British Pensioners wants to end the current injustice and in particular to ensure that people who have worked hard in the UK all their lives are able to move freely around the world and have the right to enjoy full family life in their declining years, in a country of their own chosing. British Pensioners must have parity now. So say we all! If you want to join the pension parity campaign you can contact jmarkham@sympatico.ca I hope you are a little enlightened about your basic state pension rights. Take care folks... Mr David Uduehi HMP Pentonville POA Diversity Group Delegate to TUC Black Workers Conference 2010. Other Delegates were Su Akram, Anne Ryzulo, Pete Allen, and POA/NEC Brian Traynor

June 2010 9 8/6/10 13:38:16


General Matters

Conservative/Lib Dem Coalition Throughout the election campaign one of the largest differences between the Lib/Dems and the Conservatives was when to start making cuts to public sector spending to address the economy. It was clear that during the campaign the Liberals claimed that now was not the time to start those cuts. So what has changed and how will it affect prisons? Following the General Election the country; and in particular public servants, held their breath to see which way Nick Clegg would jump. Would he support the Conservative Party, a Party he; and his Party had such fundamental differences with on policy or a Labour Party that had been defeated in the election but still held the second most seats in the house? After a week of negotiations a deal was done and on the 12th May the announcement was made that the Liberal Democrats were to form a Coalition Government with the Torys. Was this unexpected? Having considered the Coalition Agreement between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats their new priorities make little or no reference to prisons and only this passing reference to criminal justice: “We agree that we will approach forthcoming legislation in the area of criminal justice on a case by case basis, with a view to maximizing our country’s security, protecting Britain’s civil liberties and preserving the integrity of our criminal justice system. Britain will not participate in the establishment of any European Public Prosecutor.” Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, has addressed our Annual Conference and his full speech is on the POA website at www.poauk.org.uk The first job for any new Prime Minister is to select his cabinet. As a result of his deliberations it was announced on the 12th May that the new Secretary of State for Justice would be The Right Hon. Kenneth Clarke MP. From April 1992 until May 1993 he held the post of Secretary of State for the Home Office. His previous experience should ensure that Mr. Clark has an understanding of the problems in respect of overcrowding, staff shortages, violence, the threat of privatisation etc. These are the same problems the Service faced when Mr. Clark had responsibilities for prisons, many years ago. Working alongside Mr Clark in the Ministry of Justice will be Crispin Blunt MP who will be the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State with Responsibility for Prisons, Probation, Youth Justice, Criminal Law,

Sentencing Policy and Criminal Justice. Mr. Blunt will undoubtedly have some knowledge of prisons as both High Down and Downview are in his constituency and he has been a frequent visitor to both. We all expected the new Government to make big changes as it tries to address the countries debt and avoid a recession. What changes will come into effect under the coalition government are not yet clear but on 24th May some of those questions were answered. It was announced that there was to be a civil service recruitment freeze, how this will impact in prisons it not clear, but the Ministry of Justice is facing a further £325m cut to its budget. We have written to Mr. Clarke and requested a meeting to discuss the way forward hopefully this will bring about positive change. As a result of the General Election and the decision of Gordon Brown to stand down as leader of the Labour Party there will be a leadership contest. At the time of writing only 6 MP’s have put their names forward: • Diane Abbott MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington since 1987, first female black MP in the House of Commons. • The Rt. Hon. David Miliband, MP for South Shields since 2001 and former Foreign Secretary. • The Rt. Hon. Ed Balls, MP for Morley and Outwood since 2010 and for Normanton from 2005 to 2010, and former Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. • The Rt. Hon. Ed Miliband, MP for Doncaster North since 2005 and former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. • The Rt. Hon. Andy Burnham, MP for Leigh since 2001 and former Secretary of State for Health. • John McDonnell MP for Hayes and Harlington since 1997 and POA Honorary Life Member. The new General Secretary and I have written to all standing candidates and requested a meeting to discuss a number of issues appertaining to the criminal justice system and penal policy. Colin Moses National Chairman

RMT’S Bob Crow at Battersea & Wandsworth TUC PCS Headquarters RMT Chairman Bob Crow was the invited speaker at a recent Battersea & Wandsworth TUC meeting, to which Wandsworth POA is affiliated. Bob is always a good speaker and as a trade union leader, he is very clear that he is in his position to defend his members, who democratically elected him in the first place. Myself, Stewart McLaughlin and Jim Shaw from the Wandsworth Branch went along as local delegates. He spoke of the current dispute over safety with the threat to reduce maintenance staff and with London Underground, station staff. He made a very convincing argument that passenger safety would decline with the proposals made by the rail employers. He was clearly disappointed with the Labour Government, of which his union is not affiliated. The RMT is, however, supporting M.P.s who support trade union rights. The planned question and answer session became rather heated with some guests seeking a return to the ‘revolution?’ It didn’t phase Bob as he replied that he needed a ballot result with his own members the following

10 June 2010 8-10 General Matters.indd 10

week and that the revolution “Won’t be coming next Friday”. He was probably as amazed as most of the regular BWTUC delegates with this nonsensical outburst but it did liven up the proceedings. The local trades RMT’s Bob Crow at Battersea & Wandsworth TUC PCS Headquarters council is a good place for the Wandsworth Branch to discuss prison issues with other trade unionists, especially those from the public sector. Stewart McLaughlin Branch Secretary

Gatelodge 8/6/10 13:38:45


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8/6/10 14:30:30


Annual Conference

POA 71st Annual C Left - Andy Gossage, Centre - Ron Adams, Right - Roger Bennet

Once again, I attended the POA’s Annual Conference as a Full Time Officer of the Union and realised that whilst this was the POA’s 71st Conference it was my 22nd in one role or another. On the first morning of conference the Northern Ireland pipe band played a number of tunes to celebrate the 71st Conference, a truly magnificent sight. The address to Conference from the Lady Mayor of Portsmouth set the scene perfectly as she outlined her knowledge and first hand experiences of the problems that POA members face everyday whilst working in secure settings. Colin Moses, National Chairman of the POA, opened conference with a considered address, Colin Moses touching on key issues and paying tribute to the work of Andy Gossage, Ron Adams and Roger Bennett, three Honorary Life Members who passed away recently. A minute silence was held to remember all the

12 June 2010 12-15 Annual Conference.indd 12

members who had passed away since last year’s conference. The Rt. Hon Lord Bradley addressed Conference on his report which deals with the problems of managing prisoners with mental health and learning difficulties. All of his recommendations have been accepted and if implemented properly will make a difference to our working environment and the lives of those offenders with special needs. Steve Gillan presented the Finance and Welfare Report to Conference for the last time as he takes up the role of General Secretary following Brian Caton’s retirement at the end of Conference. If Steve does as good a job as General Secretary as he has as Finance Officer this Union is in safe hands. Steven Nathan’s address to Conference on the issues of privatisation and prison reform was well received and I must urge people to read his speech. If he does not prove and justify that prisons are not for profit and that there is no place for privatisation in our prisons, I don’t know what will. This Conference was the last for Brian Caton as General Secretary, Don Wood as POA NEC Vice Chairman and Derek Turner, Full Time Officer. The contribution of these three POA Officials will leave a void in the Union, but as always we will move on and continue to improve they would expect nothing less. All 3 were awarded the status of Honorary Life Membership and the speeches in moving these motions

The Rt. Hon. Lord Bradley

Steve Gillan

Steven Nathan

Gatelodge 8/6/10 10:43:10


Annual Conference

l Conference 2010 Derek Turner

Malcolm Rogers

Brian Caton

Don Wood Demonstration

Delegates voting

reflected their work and contributions to the POA, the trades union movement and of course society as a whole. For the first time in many years, the POA held a demonstration in respect of Prisons not for Profit outside the Guildhall in Portsmouth. How pleasing it was to see all the delegates participate in the demonstration and make sure that our voice was heard. The General Secretary, National Chairman and Finance Officer all addressed the delegates. Unfortunately, only the Morning Star turned up to report on the demonstration from the national press and media. The unanimous support of Motion 6 and tributes paid to Brian Caton during the moving of this motion were magnificent, the standing ovation truly deserved.

Gatelodge 12-15 Annual Conference.indd 13

Malcolm Rogers of Help for Heroes addressed conference, outlining the work this organisation and charity does in supporting our armed forces. Once again, the delegates at Conference raised significant amounts of money for a number of charities including the Chairman’s charity Help for Heroes. The POA has already donated significant sums to this charity, with monies also being donated by the Prison Service Charity Fund. The Secure Health Care Services Annual General Meeting took place on Wednesday morning during conference. Throughout the meeting, debates and reports covered the problems of dealing with prisoners and patients with mental health and learning difficulties. It is about time that the Government realised these problems existed and made provision to care for them in appropriate healthcare settings. Paul Weare, Director of Security at Ashworth High Secure Hospital addressed conference and outlined the problems his and other staff in the high secure hospitals face. Once again, Brian Caton highlighted the problems of recognition at National Level for the POA and failures of the TUC other sister unions, in supporting the POA to achieve recognition at national level. The Emergency Motion on NHS QUIPP was fully supported and quite rightly so. Maybe, nurses in this area of healthcare are not classed as frontline services by Government and that is why they face huge budget cuts. Throughout Conference, Motions were debated, some with passion, others on a matter of fact basis but as always the delegates listened, considered and determined the policies of the Union; policies that the NEC will progress through the appropriate committees for the 12 months or more. The POA is the proud sponsor of the Toe by Toe scheme through the Shannon Trust. The Union sponsored award was presented to Lisa Dowsett from HMPYOI Portland for her work and commitment in helping prisoners to learn to read. Mick Roe, Bullwood Hall Brian Harrison, Castington Rob Bowman, Newhall, were all presented with the Cronin Clasp from Brian Caton General Secretary for their long term contribution to the POA at local level. All three recipients were honoured to receive the award; and as always surprised by their nomination. Brian Caton, General Secretary, also presented the POA’s highest award to Neil Walker of HMP Frankland for his heroic actions when intervening to protect the lives of fellow officers; ha and David Wingfield both received the Mabel Hempton award, David for his heroic actions when saving the life of a female officer at Low Newton in very difficult and traumatic circumstances.

June 2010 13 8/6/10 10:44:32


Annual Conference

Mabel Hempton Award Winners Toe by Toe Award (Lisa Dowsett)

Cronin Clasp Winners

Bob Crow

Frances O’Grady

14 June 2010 12-15 Annual Conference.indd 14

Steven Cavalier

These awards are only a small token of appreciation from the Union, but every recipient was proud and honoured to be acknowledged by their fellow members. Conference was again addressed by Bob Crow, General Secretary of the RMT, probably one of the best speakers within the trade union movement. Bob again confirmed his view that prisons are not for profit and neither should public transport be. The failure of New Labour to repeal anti-trade union legislation was high on Bob’s agenda, as he addressed and entertained Conference. Steven Cavalier, Chief Executive of Thompsons solicitors addressed Conference, following the adoption of Motion 12. Steven gave a heartfelt address and simply said: “JudgeThompsons by their commitment, results and delivery of service.” Frances O’Grady, Deputy General Secretary of the TUC, outlined the state of political affairs following the Coalition Government of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. She also paid tribute to the outgoing General Secretary of the POA Brian Caton, congratulated Steve Gillan on his election to General Secretary and paid tribute to Don Wood for his commitment to the POA. Frances touched on the state of the economy and problems this will bring to the country during her address. Frances said that the TUC would support public services and oppose budget cuts. On Thursday morning, the National Chairman, Colin Moses, outlined to conference the terms and wording of a joint statement between NOMS and the POA on zero tolerance to violence in prisons. Conference agreed for the joint statement to be signed and published without the POAs logo (strike badge) commemorating the first national strike on the 29th August 2007. Delegates from the Juvenile estate and YOIs addressed the debate on the effectiveness of the Youth Justice Board. Clearly, there are a number of serious problems in this area of the Criminal Justice System. Concerns were raised over the use of split sites and provision of Play Stations and TVs, which leads to total appeasement and a lack of control and discipline. Delegates from across the estate emphasised that the level of violence in these prisons is growing. The Vote of Confidence in the NEC over the closure of the PO rank led to a lively debate but at the end, Conference voted in favour of having confidence in the NEC. A number of delegates made reference to the Special Delegates Conference on the 12th October 2009 when delegates determined the policy of the Union as motions were debated throughout the week. Simon Reed, Vice Chair of the Police Federation and Dr David Green both addressed Conference and spoke on the failures of the Criminal Justice System, offenders, prisons and future Government policies. Sir Alan Beith addressed Annual Conference and outlined his personal views on a number of issues, but his keynote speech was in respect of

Gatelodge 8/6/10 11:34:43


Annual Conference

of the work and efforts that they had done in combating the efforts of the BNP during the recent general election. Thompsons also attended the Irish night on Thursday and watched the generosity of the POA delegates in action as significant amounts of money was raised for Help the Heroes and the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice. A presentation was made to Brian Caton on behalf of the Northern Ireland Area Committee and tributes paid to Don Wood and Derek Turner. As always a good night was had by all. The last day of Conference was opened by the pipe band after a little hiccup on proceedings. Steve Gillan sought Conference approval to uplift the monies raised for charities from the Union’s accounts and as always this was approved. It never ceases to amaze me and others at Conference how generous POA members are when it comes to donating money to worthwhile causes. Mick O’Dwyer Honorary Life Member addressed Conference on behalf of the ‘wrinkles’ as he called them how pleasing it was to hear his strong opinions and humour at the rostrum after all this time. Colin Moses, National Chairman, completed the agenda and gave a brief closing speech paving the way for the new General Secretary to say a few words and the outgoing GS to close conference. Brian’s closing speech was passionate and heartfelt and a fitting way to close conference. Glyn Travis Full Time Officer

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the report into the role of the prison officer. Sir Alan received a warm welcome from the delegates. Sir Alan was in the hall when Conference unanimously supported Motion 25. The content of Sir Alan’s speech outlined the value and worth of prison staff and problems POA members face each and every day in managing prisoners. On Thursday afternoon, Michael Spurr, (CEO of NOMS from June 2010 following the departure of Phil Wheatley as Director General of NOMS), addressed Conference Michael outlined the history of the prison population, which reached 85,000 on the 12th May 2010, whilst reflecting on the last 10 years. He believed that resources had increased, I am not sure Conference accepted this view. Michael outlined that in the last 10 years the percentage of violent acts prisoners are now sentenced for, has gone up from 20% to 27%. He advised Conference of his decision to review the provision of glass containers in the closed estate and welcomed the POAs call for the review. In respect of Prisons not for Profit, Michael accepted that the POA would campaign against the Government policy, but he would only ensure the policy was operated fairly. He also believed that competition was good for prisons and public prisons should not fear the private sector. When challenged on the introduction of the prison Officer 2 grade and salary of £14,000 he seemed perplexed but say these staff could increase their salary to £25,000 maybe this is the spot rate we have heard so much about? Weyman Bennett, Joint General Secretary of Unite Against Fascism, addressed Conference and thanked the POA for their work and commitment in opposing the BNP. The work of the POA in openly supporting the employer in excluding any members of the BNP or extremist organisation from the Prison Service has impacted on the wider trade union movement according to Weyman. Weyman was limping quite badly when he came to Conference as a result of a violent assault from a member of the BNP during the Government election campaign. Is this what we have come to expect for standing up for what you believe in and should the BNP be a legitimate political party? During Conference, I had the opportunity to speak to Union’s new solicitors, Thompsons, on a number of issues. It was pleasing to learn

E-NEWSLETTER June 2010 15 8/6/10 11:35:41


Conference Motions

RULES & CONSTITUTION 1. That with effect from the conclusion of this conference any reference in the Rules to the National Chairman is replaced with that of President. LATCHMERE HOUSE LOST 2. That Rule 9.3 is deleted in its entirety and any other reference to the ‘officers’ in the rules is also deleted. LATCHMERE HOUSE LOST 3. That subscriptions are waived for members who are on armed forces call up and these members retained all benefits of membership. FULL SUTTON CARRIED - STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE

GENERAL MATTERS 4. Conference debates the POAs current position regarding the return of full Trade Union Rights, in order to decide whether it is now time to seek to negotiate a partnership agreement that includes legally binding arbitration on all matters in return for a no strike agreement. HOLME HOUSE DEBATED 5. Conference recognises the unwillingness of the NOMS management board, government and the crown prosecution service to commit to zero tolerance on assaults on our members. Therefore Conference calls upon the NEC to commence a national campaign, “Unlock the silence on workplace violence,” to make the prison service, MP’s of all parties and the public aware of the level of violence against our members. This campaign is to be carried forward at all levels of the union. NEC WITHDRAWN 5a. Following the announcement in February 2010, that NOMS will now promote the policy of “Zero Tolerance to Violence in Prisons”, this Conference applauds the Ministry of Justice for its support. Furthermore, Conference directs all local POA officials to demand that all cell sharing risk assessments and general risk assessments involving prisoners, regimes and staff are reviewed to minimise and eradicate the risk of violence to staff and prisoners alike. NEC CARRIED - NEC 5b. That in view of the most recent violent attacks on Prison Officers at HMP Frankland on 13th March 2010, the POA demands the introduction of anti stab vests for all front line staff in prison establishments. In addition, a full review of all protective clothing and safety equipment available to front line staff to be commissioned urgently. NEC CARRIED – HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEE/SECURITY AND CUSTODY COMMITTEE 5c. That in view of the most recent violent attacks on Prison Officers at HMP Frankland on 13th March 2010, the POA demands a full review of all standard issue property and other articles which prisoners are allowed in possession including the goods purchased and provided through the provision of the canteen contract. Conference accept that the Terms of Reference must include a service wide delivery, including a robust policy regarding articles in possession which will minimise the opportunity to pose danger to staff, inmates and self inflicted injuries or death. NEC CARRIED – NEC/OPERATIONAL WHITLEY COMMITTEE

16 June 2010 16-21 Motions.indd 16

5d. That this Conference reaffirms its commitment to act in accordance with Conference Resolution number 3 Special Delegates Conference 1998 “The Home Secretary on the 18th December 1997 informed the Association that he would not amend the Criminal Justices and Public Order Act of 1994 which makes it unlawful for the POA to pursue a legitimate grievance through Industrial Action. Consequently, the Association confirms that where the need arises, we will protect the Health and Safety of its members, if necessary through collective action. This would effectively enjoin the Association in the event of a member; a branch or the NEC being prosecuted under the terms of the CJA 1994. This motion to remain as policy until unfair legislation is removed” Accordingly, this Conference demands that NOMS enter into immediate discussions to remove all glass containers from the possession of offenders in custody, as a result of the incident at Frankland on 13.03.10 Further, should NOMS not enter into constructive discussion which results in the removal of these potential weapons; the POA will enjoin the whole union and withdraw to a place of safety. NEC CARRIED – NEC/ SECURITY AND CUSTODY COMMITTEE 6. Conference applauds the career contributions of Brian Caton to the POA and the Trades Union Movement. BIRMINGHAM CARRIED - NEC 7. Honorary Life Membership is awarded to Brian Caton. NEC CARRIED - NEC 8. Honorary Life Membership is awarded to Derek Turner. NEC CARRIED - NEC 9. Honorary Life Membership is awarded to Don Wood. NEC CARRIED - NEC 10. That this Conference condemns the attitude and actions of the Ministry of Justice on how they treat members of our NEC and this Association. PARKHURST CARRIED - NEC 11. That the POA endeavour to increase their public profile, using all means at their disposal, so that the public can become better informed as to the precarious state of public sector prisons. WORMWOOD SCRUBS CARRIED - NEC 12. That Conference accept Conference Paper one and retain Thompsons solicitors to provide this Unions legal services in accordance with the Rules and Constitution. NEC CARRIED - LEGAL AID COMMITTEE/NEC 13. Conference debates the outcome of Motion 119a (Southport 2009). BIRMINGHAM CARRIED - NEC 14. That this NEC ensures that if any prisons are clustered, the committees of those prisons involved will, if requested by them, remain as individual committees and not become one branch. PARKHURST CARRIED – NEC 15. That this NEC and Conference reinforces to the MoJ its stance on Market Testing and Privatisation. PARKHURST CARRIED – NEC

Gatelodge 8/6/10 11:37:55


Conference Motions

16. That Conference debate the implications of the implementation of a job evaluation system on our members. LANCASTER FARMS DEBATED

25. That Prison Officers Association commend Alan Beith MP and his committee for the report entitled “Role of the Prison Officer”. HOLME HOUSE CARRIED - NEC

17. Conference debates the JES and the potential detrimental impact that this process will have on Prison Officers and POA members and instructs the NEC to hold workplace ballots for industrial action should POA members suffer detriment under those proposals. HOLME HOUSE WITHDRAWN

26. That Prison Officers Association condemn the Governments response to the report entitled “Role of the Prison Officer”. HOLME HOUSE WITHDRAWN

18. Conference mandates the NEC that if NOMS try to impose any form of JES that is detrimental to our members without agreement with the POA then disruptive action up to and including total withdrawal of labour should be taken by this Union. WAKEFIELD CARRIED – NEC 19. Conference instructs the NEC to ballot for industrial action via a workplace ballot should any form of pay or pension red circling be introduced as a result of the JES. HOLME HOUSE WITHDRAWN 20. Conference debates the issues of Comparators. BIRMINGHAM

Specification Benchmarking and WITHDRAWN

21. Conference debates the specification and benchmarking programme and adopts a policy of national opposition should this programme identify the loss of Prison Officer posts. HOLME HOUSE CARRIED - SPECIFICATION AND BENCHMARKNG COMMITTEE/NEC 22. That the NEC engages with MPs of the mainstream political parties to increase the remit of the HMCIP, to include the Service as a whole, i.e. the management of the Service rather than just prison establishments. SWALESIDE CARRIED - NEC 23. Conference condemns the gross mismanagement of the P.NOMIS IT budget and in light of the disgraceful budget cuts facing the Prison Service, we seek a public inquiry into the overspend. HOLME HOUSE CARRIED - NEC 24. Conference condemns the year on year budget cuts and debates the impact of these cuts on prison officers and prison staff. HOLME HOUSE CARRIED - NEC 24a. That Annual Conference accept the report from the National Audit Office dated 10th March 2010 and instruct the National Executive Committee to press the Ministry of Justice, Treasury and NOMS to reverse the planned budget cuts for the Prison Service from 2010 onwards. So that every public sector prison has the resources to address offending behaviour and reoffending rates of all short sentenced prisoners. Therefore addressing the estimated 7 to 10 billion pounds of wasted taxpayers money. NEC CARRIED – NEC/OPERATIONAL WHITLEY COMMITTEE 24b. That Conference commend the final report of Dame Anne Owers Chief Inspector of Prisons released in February 2010 and instruct the NEC to challenge the MoJ, Treasury and NOMS on their attitude towards budget cuts, regime activities and reoffending. A report that identifies that NOMS are happy for the Prison Service to deliver a bronze standard as apposed to the gold standard we should be delivering as a public sector prison service. NEC CARRIED – NEC/OPERATIONAL WHITLEY COMMITTEE

Gatelodge 16-21 Motions.indd 17

27. That no member of this Association who has been found guilty within the Disciplinary Rules be allowed to be Cronin Clasp holder or Honorary Life Member of the POA and if this motion, should it be passed, becomes policy and annexed to the Rules. ONLEY LOST 28. That Annual Conference pass a vote of condemnation against ‘the Howard League for Penal Reform’ for their report Turnkeys or Professionals. LATCHMERE HOUSE CARRIED - NEC 29. That Conference debate the impact that Government policy, under the Labour Party, has had upon our members since 1997. LANCASTER FARMS DEBATED 30. That Conference debate the effect that the introduction of the “lower tier” prison officers will have on existing uniform staff. LANCASTER FARMS DEBATED 31. That Conference debate the culture of bullying, harassment and intimidation by senior managers in the Prison Service and commend HMP Liverpool for the brave stand they took to challenge the appalling trend. LANCASTER FARMS CARRIED - NEC 32. Conference approve an uplift in the rates of allowances for overnight accommodation for branch officials and therefore increase the hotel allowance from £85.00 to £90.00 for London and for outside London from £55.00 to £65.00 per night. Further, Conference increases the overnight subsistence allowance from £26.00 to £30.00. NEC CARRIED - NEC/FINANCE COMMITTEE 33. Conference approve an uplift in the subscription rate from £12.48 per month to £13.00 per month, an increase of 52 pence effective from 1st July 2010 (excluding Scotland) and then return to a percentage uplift the following year. NEC CARRIED - NEC/FINANCE COMMITTEE 34. That Annual Conference pass a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the POA National Executive Committee for bringing to conference last year motion 66A and thereby misleading conference with regards to their employment status. LATCHMERE HOUSE LOST 35. That with effect from 1st January 2011 the Miscellaneous Expenses Grant (MEG) paid to all POA National Executive Committee members, with the exception of the General and Deputy General Secretary is reduced to £5000.00 per year gross. LATCHMERE HOUSE LOST 36. That the Miscellaneous Expenses Grant (MEG) paid to members of the POA National Executive Committee, with the exception of the General and Deputy General Secretary is abolished with effect from 1st January 2011. From this date, all future expenses to be claimed back via receipted claims. LATCHMERE HOUSE LOST

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Conference Motions

37. That Conference accepts the POA diary needs to be streamlined to reduce costs and encourage members to access the POA website to obtain up to date information. Therefore Conference instructs the NEC to remove the following sections and create useful links on the website. 1. POA Learning 2. POA Group Life and Personal Accident Scheme 3. 42/97 OSG Agreement 4. Annual Leave, Sick Leave and Travel & Subsistence 5. Career and Pay Progression 6. Pay Scales & Allowances WAKEFIELD WITHDRAWN 38. That the NEC promote the Queens Honours system to recognise staff who have contributed Long Service to the Prison Officers Association union. STAFFORD LOST 39. That this Association recognises anyone with 25 years unbroken POA membership with an award, to be in keeping with the loyalty shown. HOLME HOUSE LOST 40. Conference agrees that any expenses incurred through POA learning eg Union Learning Conferences, should be funded centrally or from Union Learn fund and not from branch funds. HOLME HOUSE CARRIED – NEC /FINANCE OFFICER 41. Conference censure the NEC for not carrying out a workplace ballot on the PSPRB recommendation 2009, as is this Associations policy since the adoption of Motion 30/2007. HOLME HOUSE CARRIED - NEC 41a. That Conference accept the report from the Prison Service Pay Review Body of March 2010 and instruct the National Executive Committee to evaluate the comments and recommendations to ensure future pay submissions and negotiations reflect the needs of members and concerns of the PRB. NEC CARRIED – NEC/PRB COMMITTEE 42. Because of the political spin used by the NOMS management board regarding the outcomes of staff surveys and the fact that information gathered in these surveys is used against the POA when submissions are made to the PSPRB. This Association adopts a policy of non-participation in any future NOMS surveys and instead conducts its own survey to act as a direct contrast. HOLME HOUSE CARRIED - NEC 43. That Conference mandate the NEC to negotiate with the relevant authorities to put in place safe systems of work and policies, which ensure all staff working in immigration centres are protected from violence in the workplace; and that those members have a right of redress if assaulted to the local management, police and CPS. NEC CARRIED - NEC 44. That Conference debate the value and effectiveness of the Youth Justice Board. NEC DEBATED 45. That this Conference hold a Vote of Confidence in the NEC with regards to the feeling of dissatisfaction held by many members, as to the outcome of the negotiated position pertaining to the closure of the PO rank. WORMWOOD SCRUBS CARRIED - NEC 46. Conference debates the consequences of the Delegates vote at the Special Delegates Conference 12th October 2009. BIRMINGHAM WITHDRAWN 47. The NEC calls upon Conference to support and encourage the creation of forums at National, Regional and Local level to represent the diversity of our membership to include groups for BME, LGBT, women and disabled members. NEC LOST

18 June 2010 16-21 Motions.indd 18

48. That Conference authorises the NEC to replace the district meetings with area meetings. NEC LOST 49. That Conference debate the use by POA members of the Prison Service “intranet” facility. NEC DEBATED 50. That Conference debates the use by POA members of the various social sites available by internet, such as facebook, twitter etc. NEC DEBATED 51. Conference mandates that the Union produce an annual comprehensive breakdown of cases taken by our legal representatives. That the report shows the subsequent success rates of those cases that represent a better than 50% chances of success further; the number of cases & success rates of cases that represent a point of principle. BIRMINGHAM CARRIED - LEGAL AID COMMITTEE 52. Conference mandates the NEC to ensure that the Royal Mail is used to distribute it’s written communications, and, that the NEC ensures that the POA Supports employers who recognise Trades Unions. BIRMINGHAM LOST 53. Conference debates the benefits of co-ordinating and campaigning with Unions that represent solely, workers within the Criminal Justice System. BIRMINGHAM DEBATED 54. Conference debates the purpose of Capital Punishment in society today. BIRMINGHAM DEBATED 55. That the General Secretary following a call by any branch for a SDC publishes via a branch circular a list of those branches with a breakdown of their membership numbers that supported the request. SWALESIDE CARRIED - GENERAL SECRETARY/NEC 56. That this membership be informed of any decisions and monetary awards given in response to any employment tribunals or employment appeals tribunal decision in the last twelve months against former employees or former National Officers of the POA. ONLEY LOST 57. With effect from the 1st July 2010, all Whitley Committee meetings with the exception of National Whitley meetings, attended by members of the POA National Executive Committee and/or any full time official of the POA, to be minuted and the minutes published and distributed to the membership by way of a POA Circular within three calendar months of the meeting taking place. LATCHMERE HOUSE LOST 58. The NEC recognises that POA members find the actions and policies of racist parties like the BNP to be against the policies of their union. Conference also notes that the BNP : • is a fascist, racist organisation that stands for an all white Britain, the destruction of trade unions and the elimination of basic democratic rights. • is now trying to present itself as a ‘respectable’ political party. • seeks to attract votes on the basis of racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, antisemitism and the vilification of refugees and asylum seekers. Trade unions play a crucial role in defeating fascism in Britain. We welcome the position taken by several unions to expel members of the BNP from trade unions. This conference further notes: • Unite Against Fascism is a broad national campaign formed to defeat the BNP, uniting trade unions, anti-racists, anti-fascists, MPs, MEPs, faith groups and all those opposed to the BNP. • Unite Against Fascism has been actively campaigning against the British National Party in particular and other fascist organisations. • The TUC General Council agreed to support Unite Against Fascism; • trade unions have affiliated to Unite Against Fascism, to circulate Unite Against Fascism leaflets and other materials and encourage the take up of individual membership. NEC CARRIED - NEC

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Conference Motions

59. That Annual Conference pass a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the POA National Executive Committee, for negotiating and agreeing with the Prison Service the Workforce Modernisation process. LATCHMERE HOUSE WITHDRAWN 60. That the NEC re-enter into talks with NOMS about erecting a memorial at the National Arboretum on behalf of all prison staff. BRINSFORD CARRIED - INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE

OPERATIONS 61. That Conference debate the effectiveness of the current prison regimes in addressing offending behaviour and preparing prisoners to lead law abiding lives upon release. NEC DEBATED 61a. That the NEC demand the suspension of the league table and KPIs/KPTs due to the financial restrictions imposed by the Government SWALESIDE CARRIED – NEC/OPERATIONS COMMITTEE 62. The NEC negotiates an increase in the non effective allowance in order to provide non effective cover that takes into account the extra leave allowance, maternity leave and disability leave and report progress via circular within 6 months. HOLME HOUSE CARRIED - OPERATIONS 63. That the NEC pursue the Prison Service to put in place extra ‘non effectives’ to cover any shortfalls in staff, to cover all pregnancies and related leave or to have a group of staff to draw from to cover these type of shortfalls. If these are not available then extra funding should be found to pay payment plus or overtime. SWINFEN HALL ADOPTED UNDER MOTION 62 64. That the NEC pursue with the Prison Service the increase of ‘non effectives’ to cover the extra 5 days leave that is now given to all staff after 10 years service. SWINFEN HALL ADOPTED UNDER MOTION 62 65. With the increase of annual leave allowances to staff with more than 10 years service, Conference mandates the NEC to negotiate an increase to the noneffective allowance used by the Employer when profiling an establishment or workplace. BIRMINGHAM ADOPTED UNDER MOTION 62 66. That when a member of staff is on maternity leave, the hours for that member are not included in the ‘non effectives’. LANCASTER CASTLE ADOPTED UNDER MOTION 62 67. That when a member of staff is suspended from duty for any reason, the hours for that member are not included in the ‘non effectives’. LANCASTER CASTLE ADOPTED UNDER MOTION 62 68. That Conference mandate the NEC to seek the necessary changes to PSO 0900 to minimise the risk of serious offenders being transferred to lower category prisons inappropriately, thus placing the public, staff, visitors and other offenders at risk. NEC CARRIED - OPERATIONS 69. Conference debates the benefits of adopting all aspects of the European Work Time Directive. BIRMINGHAM WITHDRAWN 70. Conference debates the standards of Political Correctness and Over Regulation within our Prisons and the impact of workers within Prisons. BIRMINGHAM DEBATED

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71. Conference debates the “In vision/My detail” programme and the impact this has had in establishments. HOLME HOUSE DEBATED 72. That the NEC pursue with the Prison Service a maximum amount of prisoners an officer can be in charge of in all closed prisons, that being for the health and safety of both staff and prisoners. SWINFEN HALL LOST 73. That Conference debate the “hotel” mentality in our gaols and the waste of public funds that this entails. LANCASTER FARMS DEBATED 74. That the NEC negotiate a further reduction in the core day as a way of gaining efficiency savings without losing a disproportionate amount of staff. LANCASTER FARMS WITHDRAWN 75. That Conference accepts that all Prison Officers should be trained in PACE. This is to include statement taking, evidence handling and scene of crime. STOCKEN CARRIED - OPERATIONS

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS 76. That whilst we totally support the outing of corrupt officers in the Service and the highlighting of this on the intranet. This should equally apply to all ranks and the recent removal of senior staff at HMP Ranby and Lindholme should also have been highlighted. CHELMSFORD WITHDRAWN

PERSONNEL 77. That Conference debate the non-effectiveness, mal-administration and abuse by managers of the Grievance Procedure PSO 8550 and call for a renegotiation of the procedure whereby our members can have confidence in a fair and equitable system. LANCASTER FARMS CARRIED - PERSONNEL 78. That Conference conduct a vote of confidence in the grievance procedure under PSO 8550. LANCASTER FARMS WITHDRAWN 79. That the Prison Service awards the Imperial Service Medal to those staff whom have completed 25 years faithful meritorious service and not being recommended 6 months prior to or 12 months post retirement. WOODHILL WITHDRAWN 80. The NEC negotiate with the Prison Service a standardised period of compassionate absence when a member of staff has a member of their immediate family die, a reasonable time being 5 days. WHATTON LOST 81. That this Conference demand a change to the current pay and allowance policy which only allows for the Director General of NOMS to deviate from that policy, the policy to be amended so that any authorised changes to pay are done so, for and on behalf of the Director General of NOMS. NEC CARRIED - PERSONNEL 82. That Conference mandate the NEC to seek a change in the management of Training Services’ staff from that of Shared Services to that of the operational line as is with prison establishments. NEC CARRIED - PERSONNEL

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Conference Motions

83. That Newbold Revel Training School and all satellite stations be classed as an establishment as defined in the 1952 Prisons Act. NEC CARRIED - PERSONNEL

95. That OSGs receive the same payment for working in “dirty conditions” as prison officers. MOORLAND LOST

84. That the POA does not recognise the definition of “unsocial hours” given in NTS 34/2009 as those hours outside of 0700 – 1900 Monday to Friday, but believe unsocial hours to be any hours outside 0800 – 1700 Monday to Friday. Further, that the POA campaign to have the definition in NTS 34/2009 changed to reflect this belief. CHELMSFORD CARRIED - PERSONNEL

96. That any OSG who is called out to assist in any tornado incident is paid at the tornado rate of pay. SWINFEN HALL LOST

85. That current rates of Prison Service subsistence allowances be increased. WANDSWORTH CARRIED - PERSONNEL 86. The NEC seek an increase to expense and subsistence rates. SEND WITHDRAWN 87. The POA NEC negotiate with the Prison Service, to reduce the maximum working period in any one day to a maximum of nine hours unless an individual wishes to extend voluntarily. FORD WITHDRAWN 88. That Conference calls for an immediate return to group working, as defined in Bulletin 8, or all establishments in England and Wales that do not have in place a local agreement between the Governor and POA committee to dictate otherwise. LANCASTER FARMS LOST 89. That Conference condemns the misuse of level 5 referrals to ATOS. BRINSFORD CARRIED - NEC/PERSONNEL 90. That this Association condemns the practice of management overriding specialist medical opinion in that members are being ordered off duty on sickness absence against their will and against the advice of the members medical specialists. LANCASTER FARMS WITHDRAWN 91. That Conference mandate the NEC to re-enter talks into re-writing PSO 8404 Management of Attendance. BRINSFORD WITHDRAWN 92. That Conference condemn the slow, ineffective and inefficient shared services centre and the effect that this has on our members. LANCASTER FARMS CARRIED - NEC/PERSONNEL

97. That new operational staff be afforded the right to a pension age of 60. EDINBURGH WITHDRAWN 98. That this union lobby both HMPS and SPS to introduce a cross border transfer policy which would take cognisance of experience and result in a suitable placement on the appropriate pay scale. EDINBURGH CARRIED - NEC/PERSONNEL 99. Due to poor year on year pay awards and the introduction of the new officer pay band, Conference recognises the need for some staff to take secondary employment and asks the NEC to seek a review of NTS 2/92 in order to prevent staff being disadvantaged from an out of date policy. HOLME HOUSE WITHDRAWN 100. The NEC seek an increase to local pay allowance. SEND CARRIED - PAY REVIEW BODY COMMITTEE 101. With the increase to the annual leave allowance to staff with more than 10 years service, Conference mandates the NEC to negotiate with the Prison Service to allow a minimum of six and a maximum of seven weeks annual leave to be pre-booked in order that staff will fit all of their leave entitlement into a one-year period. BIRMINGHAM WITHDRAWN 102. Conference debates the issues of operational Staff being managed by and reported on through the SPDR system by Non-Operational grades. BIRMINGHAM DEBATED 103. The staff handbook paragraphs 7.32-7.39 states that staff are required to walk up to 4 miles in adverse weather conditions in order to attend their place of work. This is no longer fit for purpose nor relevant as prisons are no longer built in rural areas. We ask the NEC to enter negotiations to have this rescinded. ELMLEY CARRIED - PERSONNEL

HEALTH & SAFETY

93. With the abolition of the Principal Officer grade, the Senior Officer has become the highest uniformed managerial grade. We ask conference to acknowledge that this be recognised with an increase in the differential of pay for that of an officer on full increment to that of a Senior Officer, by way of an increase to the Senior Officer pay level or by introducing a higher second tier of pay for a Senior Officer similar to that previously enjoyed by the Principal Officer rank. The POA to include and support this, in their next submission to the Pay Review Body. LATCHMERE HOUSE WITHDRAWN

104. All staff are increasingly put at risk of injury by needle stick wounding whilst carrying out their routine duties such as rub down searches and cell searches. There is currently no preventative equipment provided to staff to prevent this from happening. We ask conference to mandate the NEC to negotiate the inclusion of protective gloves for all staff, as standard issue, forming part of their Personal Protection Equipment. ELMLEY CARRIED - HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEE

94. That OSGs working in prison kitchens receive the same specialist payments as officers. MOORLAND LOST

105. That the NEC pursues through the Health and Safety Executive the process of private jails making discipline staff remove their batons prior to entry to their establishments. GARTH CARRIED - HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEE

20 June 2010 16-21 Motions.indd 20

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Conference Motions

106. That Conference debate sick building syndrome and its effect on prison staff. LANCASTER FARMS DEBATED 107. That the NEC negotiatie with the Prison Service to achieve a safe and suitable LUX lighting level for evening exercise. LANCASTER FARMS CARRIED - HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEE 108. That Conference agree that PAT testing should be carried out by the works department as part of their profiled tasks. LANCASTER FARMS CARRIED - HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEE 109 That the POA condemns Her Majesty Government failure to protect prison officers from the potentially life threatening consequences of passive smoking. CHELMSFORD CARRIED - NEC

REPORT BACKS 110. That the NEC, report back on Motion 98/2008. (As a matter of urgency, the NEC are to establish conclusively if the Prison Service expect staff to run when responding to alarms within the penal establishments, considering that an alarm can involve risk of injury or fatality to staff and prisoners, once established the NEC are to advise the membership accordingly with regard to resourcing, deployment and risk assessment). BRISTOL ACCEPTED 111. Report back from the NEC on all motions that were carried at Annual Conference 2009. PARKHURST ACCEPTED 112. Report back on Motion 58/09 STOKE HEATH ACCEPTED 113. Report back on motion 64 (Southport 2009). BIRMINGHAM ACCEPTED 114. Report back Motion 77 (Southport 2009) BIRMINGHAM ACCEPTED 115. Report back Motion 89 (Southport 2009) BIRMINGHAM ACCEPTED 116. Report back on Motion 127/09 CHELMSFORD ACCEPTED 117. The NEC give an updated report to Conference on negotiations to issue extendable batons to staff in Female, Open and Juvenile establishments. FORD ACCEPTED

SECURITY & CUSTODY 118. That this Association demands that all establishments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are fitted with the appropriate technology to block mobile phone signals. LANCASTER FARMS CARRIED - SECURITY AND CUSTODY COMMITTEE

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119. That under Use of Force, another category reading “failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order to re-locate” should be added. WANDSWORTH CARRIED - SECURITY AND CUSTODY COMMITTEE 120. This conference calls for an independent review of all cases referred to the police and crown prosecution services, where it was determined that it was not in the public interest to prosecute an offender who assaulted a member of staff whilst on duty, working in a prison, special hospital and or on external escort. NEC CARRIED - SECURITY AND CUSTODY COMMITTEE/NEC 121. That due to the increase in the level of assaults and violence in the workplace, conference mandates the NEC to seek an increase in the level of training including the personal protective package, provision of Personal Protective Equipment, including an extendable baton, for all frontline staff working in prisons as a matter of urgency. NEC CARRIED - NEC/SECURITY AND CUSTODY COMMITTEE 122. That the NEC demands an independent review of assaults and injuries received from prisoners across the estate including Secure Healthcare Centres. STOKE HEATH LOST 123. That extendable batons are issued to all Prison Officers, Senior Officers and Principal Officers in all Public Sector Prisons and to the equivalent staff working in Prison Healthcare Centres. STOKE HEATH COVERED BY REPORT BACKS 124. The HMPS in house baton holders are not fit for purpose due to poor quality and design of manufacture and we ask the Prison Service to source a baton holder of design and quality. AYLESBURY CARRIED - SECURITY AND CUSTODY COMMITTEE 125. That Conference debates the IDTS programme currently being deployed in prisons. LANCASTER CASTLE WITHDRAWN 126. That this Union actively campaigns for the removal of all IDTS programmes in Prisons. LANCASTER CASTLE WITHDRAWN 127. That the NEC negotiate with the Prison Service that voluntary drug testing should not be carried out by one member of staff. LANCASTER FARMS CARRIED - SECURITY AND CUSTODY COMMITTEE 128. That Conference mandate the NEC to negotiate with NOMS an emergency supply of uniform for staff who for whatever reason part way through the year find their uniform unsuitable. BRINSFORD CARRIED - SECURITY AND CUSTODY COMMITTEE 129. That the NEC via the Uniform sub committee, try to ensure that uniform jumpers and skirts are made part of the uniform kit pack without the need of special orders. PARKHURST CARRIED - SECURITY AND CUSTODY COMMITTEE 129a. That Annual Conference debate the recent proposals for NHS QUIPP (Quality, Innovation, Productivity & Prevention) and urge all correctional and secure psychiatric members to resist all changes which would result in the loss of front line staff. ASHWORTH CARRIED – NCSHCS

June 2010 21 8/6/10 11:44:43


Branch News

NORTH WEST KENNET

Colleagues, ‘Its grim up North’ they say, or that’s what they thought! Well we might still wear flat caps, keep pigeons and deem an inside toilet as a luxury but us up North do have principles and the savvy to understand when we are being taken for a ride. This became apparent with a new group of trainee Prison Officers, once they were told that they would only be earning the basic £14,500 wage, en mass they told the Prison Service to stick their job up its rusty sheriff ’s badge… It’s not that grim up here that people will work for that pittance, the workhouses closed years ago. On the subject of jobs, there are still some plum jobs paying good money. So just think while you are toiling away on the landings, sweat coming from all orifices, someone is being paid to dream this: ‘Making the most of our talent’ ‘Spotting and developing talent to make the most of staff capabilities is the purpose of the new NOMS Talent Management Framework, which has now been launched’. What the hell does that mean? Is it ‘X Factor for Screws’? At local level there have been some changes at Kennet with a number of committee members standing down, which has created vacancies. These have now all been filled and what is interesting is that people of S0 and P0 rank applied. It seems the penny has dropped that this isn’t a job for life, with career development all but gone. We really will need to operate in unity just to keep our current terms and conditions in the future. You can gloss this job up all you like it still involves many hours of mental boredom, unless of course you are Officer Ian Langton who has an imaginary friend/officer

22 June 2010 22-28 Branch News.indd 22

called ‘Clint Hawkwind’. Now Officer Hawkwind ‘women love him and men want to be him’ is invisible and can do the job of three officers (we will quickly be putting him on the surplus list, that’s for sure!). Ian tells us he passes countless hours with Hawkwind, so much so that he even tried to have the ID part of his new fleece printed as ‘Hawkwind’ being his preferred name, until some faceless person from Shared Services put the kibosh on it. Ian’s other pastime is to don women’s clothes and go by the name of Lucy, as he was just too comfortable walking in heels at the Joe Williams do. Some people are happy winning ten quid on the lottery not PEI Tony Fleming who has won a Trim Trail, which basically is a series of wooden obstacles to physically overcome or in plain English, an adult play ground, according to S0 Tina Dunne. For your information, Kennet is the most over crowded prison in the country (193%); this doesn’t stop some of our regulars returning time and again to use our excellent facilities and experience our famous Northern hospitality! A couple of staff have asked for a mention namely night manager SO Steve Flynn and OSG Lesley Dee. Ex-navy Steve sends his regards to his fellow colleagues at Portsmouth as their beloved team descends below the waves in to the championship. Lesley has a smile that could warm any room; a genuine smile is a rare commodity in today’s cut throat service. Now the DPM (Development Managers) saga has received a lot of criticism from all quarters and in usual prison fashion when staff feel an injustice has taken place, they resort to prison humour, with the customary nick names produced. Here are some of the best we have heard… GIT (Governors in Training) GIMPS (Governors in Matalan Primark Suits) that was from a Circuit Judge, which highlights what a farce this has descended in to when the judiciary resorted to

taking the mick. The best we have heard is IKEA Managers (Come in a flat pack and take two years to assemble). All these are by-the-by because if they are really wanting to get to the upper echelons of the Service they will need to embrace the C word (not that C word) - Clones because there is a service requirement/pressure to perform without thought or compassion, just blind PSO obedience. POA committee members can also be stereotyped by the C word - Characters none more so than Dave East on Branch Official training, Dave’s stories are legendary and kept us laughing all night. Dave had a very nasty experience a number of years ago at the old Wembley Stadium, proving that only the law has a long arm, plus Dave’s solo exploits in the 70s VHS movie industry had us howling. If anyone still has an original copy could you send it to Daveeast@solo.grainy.images.com Now Geordies have long been noted for their friendly outgoing nature, none more so than the course’s big Noel who kindly shared the contents of his stomach with the group - lovely… All joking apart this course is invaluable for committee members and demonstrates what huge knowledge the NEC actually has. As these jottings are being written, POA Conference is almost up on us, so it’s more of the same, batten down the hatches and get the liver detox ready for our return. Finally the incidents at Frankland, Leeds and Liverpool prisons highlight what dangerous, unpredictable places prisons can be. Irrespective of who wins the next election, big cuts are coming our way. Incidents of this nature probably will always happen, what stops them becoming a tragedy is swift intervention by other staff, ie staff on the landings. The gaff by Gordon Brown ‘That (bigoted) woman’ really shows the contempt politicians have for the ‘little people’. Support your Union’s campaign for safe, decent prisons.

NORTH EAST FRANKLAND

A warm welcome to the Frankland Jottings, I could be forgiven for saying the obvious, but as we move into the middle of 2010, are we all starting to feel that locally and nationally, it appears that the lunatics have taken over the running of the asylum. Locally we have had a succession of staff assaults, the most severe but not now, the most recent, being the near fatal attack on Claire Lewis and Craig Wylde. But for the timely and courageous intervention of Neil Walker, who was himself injured whilst restraining the prisoner, things could have been much worse, and they were bad enough. The Branch reacted with a great deal of anger, resentment and frustration which ended up with a spontaneous refusal to unlock. Management as usual over-reacted and there was the usual threat of injunctions. We managed to find some level of common sense and reason and have embarked upon an improvement programme in relation both to what prisoners have access to in their cells and how we risk assess the dangerousness of individual prisoners, volumetric control of property and application of the incentive earned privilege system especially relating to those placed on basic. The prison as a result has been locked down wing by wing for the last 4 weeks. We have also implemented a policy on glass removal and the directorate is now supporting a wider range of measures. Some of the policies under local review have not been completed yet but our intention is to continue to ensure they are. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all branches who sent kind words of support following this testing time. It meant a lot to the branch but more importantly to the individuals themselves. It will take some time

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Branch News

for all three staff to recover from this ordeal. We wish yjem all a speedy recovery. This kind of spontaneous violence from prisoners is not uncommon, but it is fast becoming a day-to-day part of what prison officers must face. Does anyone within the organisation or outside of it really care about that? I do not believe that they do. Oh yes, they will react to it, because this prevents further criticism, but real change will not come until we can get rid of that ‘do as we tell you to because we say so’ attitude. Properly thought out policies, procedures, and controls appropriately supported by managers who have the backbone to say no and mean no. Who have the courage to stand up to their managers in turn who are trying to put in place ill thought out, sure to fail and inconsistent policies that are designed to achieve only one thing. That the unnecessary and inconsequential changes they have wrought by the introduction of such policies gets them noticed by the powers that be in the hope that they will retain their right to wear a suit. (After all they now have a lot of competition). No doubt, we here at Frankland are still a little confused by recent events. Like others everywhere, we were asked to make significant efficiency saving. As always, this leads to the loss of prison officer posts. It doesn’t matter that those posts are not currently filled, heavens! After all we wouldn’t want to deprive our colleagues of the opportunity to work overtime through PP would we? So we are never at our full staffing figure. How long will it be before those loss of posts are being discussed as redundancies? And meanwhile, while we are saving more prison officer posts we seem to have gained a lot more managers, we do not seem to need. Strange isn’t it? And now the general election is over, with a new Liberal Democrat/Conservative Coalition Government we can almost see who will bring the public service cuts previously talked about into

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reality. And still some of our members just cannot see the wood for the trees. A large percentage of members do not understand that there is no such thing as ‘overtime’, nor do they understand (nor want to understand) where the money comes from. They do understand leave, but not the consequences of being given more leave (instead of a pay award) but having less staff so you can’t get the leave. Most if not all have never understood ‘non effective’ allowances. They do understand ‘exchanges of duty’ but not the consequences of sickness absence, maternity, adoption and paternity leave, suspensions, back to work plans, training etc on the availability of staff per day. They understand their rights to request a work/life balance but not the consequences to others of them being allowed to do so. In short, anything that does not affect them personally is ‘not my problem’. So how will they react to further cost cutting? We will have to wait and see. Talking about staff assaults, on 12 August last year Andy Balmer was assaulted by prisoner McDonald in the seg unit. This was refered to the police who presented it to the CPS. They in their wisdom decided NOT to procede as it was not in the public interest. For once our senior management got involved and succesfully pushed the police and CPS to prosecute. Andy had his days in court 16/17th March 2009. despite the number of staff involved (SO and 4 from L’Lartin plus 4 from Frankland for the escort, with 4 OSG driver navigators, and SO plus 7 as witnesses) we were fully supported by the management and looked after very well by the care team. The decision to procede resulted in Mr McDonald receiving a 6 month sentence and Andy being awarded £100 compensation, his face lit up at the prospect of buying the witnesses a pint as thanks for their support, until the magistrate pointed out that the money had to come from Mr McDonald and that he had up to 3 years to pay. Still it was the thought that counts.

The Sainsbury’s Coffee Club Sainsbury’s would like to announce the opening of its new restaurant which will cater for those staff who can get there for 11.30 whilst their colleagues lock up on the wings and carry out role checks etc. Features of the new coffee shop will include: A large viewing pane to enable staff to sit and watch their fellow colleagues (who left the wing early as well) out jogging with their partners), who they would see at the end of their shifts anyway whilst they drive together to the home they live in together. Hi tech video screens to enable the viewing of their fellow team working colleagues who are back at the prison covering the lunchtime patrols that their fellow colleagues have nicked off from.

Tea Patrols For those who don’t do any patrols whatsoever, then just to let you know that when the new core day starts there will be no tea patrols for you to shy away from. You only have the dinner patrols left to get out of. On the subject of patrols we would like to thank those staff who sometimes do lunch time patrols two days in a row. This enables certain fellow ‘colleagues’ get out of them and think about themselves. A tip for staff who are loaned to other wings. Always ring the wing that you have been loaned to for the ED and ask the following questions: What landing am I on? Who is on the ones? Who is on the twos? Who is on the threes ? Am I the only loan in? Could I swap with another loan in? This should help. A message from all Center staff to those staff who ring up and ask what their details are for the rest of the week. Could you please only ring up during the following times: During all main movements. During store deliveries onto the wing. During stand fast roll checks. During fire evacuation. This would really help the (center

staff as it is rather pointless for staff to check their details when they are coming back from the wing, from the shops or when they have a spare moment (ie lunch and tea breaks). Leslie Smithson (A Wing) did not ask the following: “Is that the new film with Sandra BOLLOCK in?” Novembers (Internal Escorts) If you are detailed Novembers and you get a task to do, would you: A: Acknowledge the ECR and then go to your assigned task, carry it out and then inform the ECR that the task has been completed OR B: Ring the wing you have been called to and ask what they want with you and inform them you will be over in 15 mins when you have finished doing nothing whatsoever.

The Colin Rooker Section If you are Colin Rooker and you are on a bedwatch looking to unplug some other appliance to plug the kettle in, would you: A. Unplug the microwave. B. Unplug the toaster. C. Unplug the life support machine. Answers on the back of a death certificate to Colin on C Wing. For those staff who were detailed reports only to find that they have been sent to a workshop instead then the following should help: On approaching Oscar 2 at the workshops, always enquire as to who was originally on that task, ie hold a mini investigation because this is your vain hope to try and get out of doing the shops, seeing as the comfort of sitting on the wing pretending to do a report has been so cruelly taken away from you. We promised Officer Peter Bowman that we wouldn’t mention the ‘Gordon Bennett’ incident in reception. We also promised Officer Ian Taylor (F Wing) that we wouldn’t mention the time when the nurse in an outside hospital mistook him for the inmate, it wouldn’t be right if we mentioned that so therefore we won’t mention it. Finally, on the subject of what we shouldn’t mention, we won’t expose SO Mick Gartside’s little incident where he was waiting for the photocopier to print out stuff

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from the PC, next time Mick, go to the printer and wait there instead. In future, whenever Frankland is mentioned on the news for good or bad reasons it has been decided that the images of the prison shown on the North East news will change slightly. Up to now the front of the prison is shown, followed by a shot of the Visitors sign and maybe the flagpole. From now on, the front of the prison will still be shown along with a still image of a ‘Fridge and Freezers’ check sheet, an ‘All Mop Buckets Accounted For’ sheet and of course footage of staff smoking round the ‘burning tree’ watching the fire brigade once more putting it out. These images will help promote Frankland as one of the hardest jails in England. Fact, there are no do-gooders working in this prison. Fact, no staff have ever been seen parking on the double yellows in the carpark when there are still spaces. Fact, a Governor did suggest that two prisoners were faking their blood pressure and heart beats to get to outside hospital, this was stated in front of paramedics who had their three ambulances parked outside. At no point was this deemed as embarrassing. Fact, when staff on a bedwatch rang the prison to confirm cuffing arrangements to bring a prisoner back in (who for years has suffered from Parkinson’s Disease) the Duty Governor asked, “has he still got Parkinson’s?” The staff nurse overheard this question as the mobile phone was on loudspeaker and at no point did she have a look on her face that said, “did he really ask that?” The officer decided to keep his job and not retort back to the Governor, “No Sir, his Parkinson’s was cured overnight by half a paracetamol but we might have trouble leaving the hospital as the world’s media is parked outside waiting to report on this miraculous event. The officer remained professional as he knew he would never get away with making stupid comments. Fact, the modern prison service is determined to root out humour in the work place. At one time humour was used to break down barriers so staff and inmates alike could share jokes hence at least trying to

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make a safer environment etc. Now, humour is definitely a disease and god forbid if a third party walked in on a joke that had absolutely nothing to do with them in the first place (but at least they can put a claim in). Do you think these third party people put claims in if they see jokes on TV? I think not. Frankland will be piloting a new scheme soon where more mirrors can be put on the walls so staff can look at themselves and say, “I like working with you!” Also the walkway will be replaced by a catwalk for the catwalk POs. The modern day prison service is proud to announce its new motto: “IF A PRISONER SAYS JUMP! YOU ASK HOW HIGH?”

Volcanic Ash Cloud from Iceland. The World’s media would like to apologise for their errors in reporting this incident. It wasn’t ash from a volcano in Iceland, it was in fact Fag’s Ash when he was leaving Iceland’s carpark! On that note, the Governor would like to thank those genuine members of staff who were genuinely stuck abroad due to Mal’s Act Of God! All contributions to Steve Jackson or Darren Stafford.

WALES & WEST CHANNINGS WOOD

I’d like to start off this month by offering the best wishes for the future to Officer Barrie Symonds who has recently been taken ill and is not able to work for the foreseeable future. Barrie has always been a very keen runner and has levels of fitness that would put to shame most men of half his age. Hopefully, this will help him over the coming months. All the best Barrie, from your friends and colleagues at work. It seems as though Channings Wood has been visited by little

green men. Steve Winney, whilst leaving the prison saw what he claims were strange objects floating over the fence and landing within the grounds. He turned his car around, dashed back as quick as he could and then rushed inside to make a report of a UFO entering the prison. Staff immediately investigated, but could find no spaceship, no aliens, not even a crop circle. Predictably, a Government spokesperson has denied that any alien contact ever took place, and that the proposed renaming of Living Block 6 as Area 51 is just a coincidence. Don’t forget Steve, ‘The truth is out there’. Talking about aliens, or at least illegal aliens, I’d like to mention Wayne Stowell’s sterling performance in reception. Whilst processing a recent batch of prisoners who were transferring into the establishment, some of them of foreign extraction, he started to question and process a Polish gentleman who appeared to be rather confused, and didn’t speak an awful lot of English. He was doing fine answering all of Wayne’s questions regarding cell sharing, history of drug abuse and whether or not he was a smoker, until somebody pointed out to Wayne that he was in actual fact a contractor working in the prison, and was only here for the day! We might as well stay on the reception theme, as that is where most of our escorts are discharged. You all know the routine, search the prisoner, apply the cuffs and off you go. But don’t forget, that if the prisoner has got small and delicate wrists, then always use an insert to ensure a snug fit. However, if he has got really, really slender wrists, then make sure you call Terri Laws who will show you how to fit two inserts into one cuff. The fact that these would now not even fit somebody who was made out of pipe cleaners would not deter her in the slightest. A word of advice to anybody who is planning a holiday, or is looking for a suitable walking partner for a quick jaunt in the countryside, make sure that you avoid Richard Williams like the plague. On the subject of holidays, Rich goes to Guatemala, there’s an earthquake. Rich goes to Madeira and there are

landslides. The Maldives, there’s a tsunami, and whilst in Mombasa, there was an attack by Al Qaeda. In view of this, I’ve just booked him two weeks staying with my in laws. But even worse than that, don’t go out for a walk with him. As one of our first aid instructors, he is always keen to offer assistance to members of the public who are injured or in distress. Unfortunately, the last three have died, and there were probably a few that quickly hung a sign around their neck when they saw him coming which said ‘DO NOT RESUSCITATE’. But my personal favourite, was a couple of weeks ago whilst he was walking on Babbacombe Downs. He saw the faintest puff of smoke coming from the upstairs window of a flat complex, and without any hesitation, called the Fire Brigade, charged up the stairs and kicked the front door off its hinges. The question though, is did he discover a raging inferno, and save some damsel in distress? No, it was some poor sod who had burned a chicken fillet in a frying pan whilst he popped out to the shops, and had left his little yappy dog guarding it. You’ve been warned! On the subject of Richard Williams, he and I were working in the seg when our occasional pet came to visit. It’s a tiny, furry, cute as could be squirrel who wouldn’t harm a fly, but it still managed to scare Officer Paul Smith and one of our seg residents. We haven’t actually named the squirrel, but for the purpose of this story, we’ll call him ‘Nutkin’. Nutkin had come to visit whilst Paul was completing a case review on a prisoner in the adjudication room, and was seen by Richard sniffing at the doorway. Richard quickly opened the door, ushered Nutkin inside and then closed it again. We then ran into the office to watch the CCTV cameras to see what would happen, and saw Paul jump up and run around, scattering swivel chairs in his wake, before crashing into a filing cabinet. The prisoner was straight up on top of his chair, with a view to mounting the table. Poor old Nutkin was most upset! A word of praise goes out to Officer Lee Payne, for his excellent inter-personal skills during the

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recent restraint of a violent prisoner. I believe that some of the expressions used were, “Listen here old chap, I need you to calm down”, “Jolly good, old chap”, and “That’s marvellous young man”. The prisoner was very impressed, and stated that it was like being ‘bent up’ by Jeeves & Wooster. Have any of our readership ever heard of a company called ‘Dixon Ticonderoga‘? Didn’t think so. Well if you want to know about them, then you’d better do it pretty quickly, because they are falling on hard times and their days could be numbered. I blame this sad fact, not on the economic decline, or on Gordon Brown or even on all of our manufacturing now being replaced by cheap products from China. I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Cnomis, (or should that be Pnomis, or even just nomis, because it depends on which bit we’ve paid for, and which bit is actually working!) Dixon Ticonderoga in case you didn’t know, and realistically, you didn’t, is a company that produces, amongst other things, ‘Chinagraph’ pencils. Officer Pete Woolridge and I were both going misty eyed the other day, reminiscing about things that you don’t see in the prison any more, and decided that the greatest loss to the system, was the Chinagraph. You didn’t need a computer, or a spreadsheet, or even a fluorescent bib to get the job done, all you needed was a wizened old screw stood at the end of the landing with a small square of perspex and a one inch stub of the aforementioned pencil clenched between his teeth. With this remarkable tool, he knew the whereabouts of every prisoner on his landing, who was not where they should be, and who it was that had asked for an O/L three days ago. This got me thinking about other things that you don’t see anymore, and although the list is not exhaustive, I think it covers a lot of sorely missed items. 1. Forty year plus screws covered in fag ash and wearing navy blue epaulettes with real metal letters. These founts of information would tell magnificent stories about how it used to be when they worked in ‘The Scrubs’, or on ‘The Island’.

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2. Slashed peaks. I can remember exactly when I last saw one, and it was 7 years ago at Dartmoor. The Officer in question was Colin Anderson, (sadly no longer with us). His peak was so ‘slashed’ as to completely obscure any form of forward vision. In order to see where he was going, he had to look directly down and look at the reflection in his; 3. Bulled up shoes and boots, (Bob Chase excepted). My boots were shiny when they came out of the box, and I’m afraid it’s been downhill for them since then. 4. Decent prison belts. The one I’ve got on now dates back to 1995. Like the rings on a tree, with an old prison belt, you could measure an officer’s length of service by how many extra holes he had made in it. (It’s a well known fact that for every five years in the job, an officer’s waist will expand by 2 inches.) Try to put a hole in one of the recent allocated belts, and it tears like a strip of liquorice. 5. Prisoners with their shirts tucked in. I can’t go into too much detail, but in times gone by, it didn’t bode well for any young scamp that refused to tuck himself in when told to do so. 6. An officer on the landing. Bit controversial this one, but with the advent of everything being computerised, and the decline of the aforementioned Chinagraph, the likelihood of finding a member of staff actually patrolling his or her wing is becoming an increasingly rare sight. As I said, this is by no means a complete list, and I could probably go on all day, but instead, I’ll leave that to you. Simmo

SOUTH CENTRAL COLDINGLEY I have to report the tremendous achievement of those involved in the Help for Heroes cycle from Northampton back to Coldingley. I hope to do a longer piece for the next issue of Gatelodge when I can work out how to get the photos

on to the system, if that is at all possible. We also met with Dougy Mears’ wife ( Lynwyn ) and her sons to present her with a framed Welsh rugby union shirt which was signed by the Welsh rugby team ( a big thank you to officer Chris Kinsey now at HMP Leyhill ), again if I can access the photos and put them in the next issue I will. Finally there was a POA branch meeting on Friday 7th May 2010 which was very poorly attended. Only 4 unified grades, 1 OSG’s 2 governors (ex PO’s ) and 1 civilian, so thanks to everyone else who did not turn up. We take a lot of criticism, we are not paid for what we do yet those who critisise often can’t be bothered to take part in the process, but just throw stones whilst in their glass houses. Bob Russell

CENTRAL CHELMSFORD Hello again from Chelmsford First of all, I must apologise for the lack of jottings lately. The reason is, that the Gatelodge arrives and seems to be hidden for a bit and then by the time we get them, the deadline for the jottings has gone - ‘nuff said. I’ll start with some sad news. It’s with much sadness that I have to inform friends and colleagues at other establishments of the untimely death of Hughie Stark. I know that the majority of staff at Chelmsford don’t know or remember Hughie but to say he was a character was an understatement, very Scottish and proud of it. No matter what team England was playing, Hughie would always turn up in the opposing team’s shirt. Bolivia was a prime example. He also had a gammy leg up until the third pint when suddenly he had ‘River Dance’ legs. Hughie was a landing officer who would look after your back, press the alarm bell and get hands on and that’s how I and others remember him. Officer Stark HMP /YOI Chelmsford - 04 November 1991 - 23 April 2003. Well, let’s crack on with news slander and sleaze. Our illustrious control and restraint

team was called out to help quell a disturbance at some detention centre up near Cambridge. I was unfortunate enough to be on the minibus with what can only be described as the dregs of the of the unit. On reaching the detention centre I was traumatised and felt in the need for counselling. I won’t go into details but just to say Officer Moran, your’re sick and need help and maybe some cream for that palm print on your rump, and I must say - I must say, a lovely rump it is too! Officer Gillespie, you need to be spayed like a randy cat, and have a tracking chip inserted somewhere nasty. Officer Quinn, simple, but nice and easily led. But don’t let that feminine body fool ya - deviant and depraved. Quinny, why do you let Gillespie round your flat if you know he only comes round to borrow your boxer shorts? Chilton, you just shouldn’t be allowed out after dark. Officer France, I’ve put people behind a door for less! I will be in touch with the RSPCA and the Pony Club. As for Ricky from the gym, he just mumbled a lot and was incoherent the whole time. Sad really! Being a physical education office he was doing cold turkey after being away from a mirror for 8 hours. Bless!! Pee Wee, oh you couldn’t make it? Too busy on the phone, never mind! Anyway, as soon as we got there scavengers were sent out like Burke and Hare (the Chelmsford way) but everything was either bolted down or had a sentry stood watch over it so we only came back with what we took. A ‘thank you’ must also go to our driver who in line with call outs got lost on the way and had to pay a local taxi driver a fiver to take us to the detention centre. He burnt out the clutch and on the way back, took out a fence post that was reminiscent of a Second World War tank trap. He was also in shock. Anyway job done, and back to Chelmsford. Well summer is well and truly with us now. So it’ll be time soon when will be all equals i.e. no ties. When will the powers that be get

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rid of this draconian part of the uniform? How much would they save? I can understand wearing a tie when in view of the general public, but why doesn’t the establishment order a load and keep them in a box in the detail office so if you are detailed a job in public view you get a tie from detail and return it after your duties? Officer A wears a tie, officer B wears a polo shirt, Female officer no tie issued, yet officer A is chastised for not wearing a tie. Some people can be so pedantic at times. Also, our local charity shops have done a roaring trade in suits and shirts that you wouldn’t give away let alone buy. This new Governor 12 grade or whatever it is, sure is keeping the fashion well and truly in the 70s, at least in our nick. And what’s with the pink shirts? Don’t get me wrong pink’s nice, but in a prison one has to wonder why? Mauve, lavender, violet, Julian you were born to wear mauve. Anyway, I digress. It’s good news about the long service and good conduct medal, I take it no one in this place will now be getting a long service plaque. Wait a mo, I don’t think anybody has. That reminds me, the seven pillars? What ever became of that fantastic idea? Money well spent? Please feel free to ask any one in a suit exactly who is head of pillar 1.2.3.4.5.6 and last but not least 7.and if you do find out, can you inform someone in charge? I just heard that the muscle in the gym put together a dug out shelter. They assembled it in the gymnasium-sorry Springfield Fitness Centre. I take it no one had a tape measure? Small door, big shelter, Good one lads! Brawn and brains not a good mix. Doing good so far (not had a go at any of the head shed yet). HELLO. Has any one noticed a difference since we now don’t have an HR Business Partner? I know, I know, it’s a happier ship, your back’s safe, nobody above their station, blardy blar blardy blar. But it is isn’t it? Let’s hope that never again can so much power be relinquished to a none uniformed grade, who let’s be honest, abused that power made things worse. Even more disturbing was the fact that the person in question

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seemed to be untouchable. What legacy did that person leave? Answers on a stamp please. Well, by the time this goes to press some of our older screws would have slung their keys down the shoot for the last time, Baz Hainsworth for one. Good luck to you all. I and some others remember officer Steve Cheezman who on his last day at work stripped off his uniform stuffed it down the key shoot and walked out bold as brass in his boxer shorts and boots. Classic. Setting light to his uniform as it was going down the shoot was a bit over the top but hey ho! Anyway summer is upon us and it’s the rutting season so no doubt little clandestine meetings will be taking place. Remember that a screw can spot a furtive look at fifty yards and smell bull poo at two. A glint in the eye is all that is needed for the whisper wagon to trundle south. Will we get new members in the divorce club this year? Dog handler Guntrip in the vehicle lock having his car searched prior to going home said to the searching OSG. “Mind the dogs, they’re moody!” In all probability they were but they weren’t in the back of the car. This is getting to be a habit with the dog section. Makes you think doesn’t it having two dog carriers in the boot, is something missing? Well I’d better close soon but before I go I’d like to wish crock Carter all the best and put it on record that if ever you were in poo poo la la land the person who you want next to you is Crock. I for one, if in need of a McKenzie friend top of my list would be Crock. That man has saved careers and fought for the rights of no end of officers. Crock had two settings, annoyed and angry and when he was fighting management for your cause he was like a pit bull with tooth ache. He did have a sensitive side. I think it was 2.00pm Thursday 1998. Good luck to you and your good lady hope all goes well. Ok, look Chelmsford staff, I’ll put this in print. If you want something in the jottings you must let me know because when I ask staff for jottings inevitably from new members of staff I get a gormless vacant stare that would put the

wind up a my little pony. It’s your magazine. Tell me what you want in it. Within reason please. My head’s on first name terms with the Governors axe, reference the jottings. Be lucky, keep your head up, eyes down and your hand on your penny at all times. Mickey B

CENTRAL THE MOUNT

Hello from The Mount, a cheerful little training prison that is being forced into depressing staff and increasing staff stress through more cutbacks, it doesn’t really matter what party wins the election we will suffer more cuts, if only we had senior managers in Cleland House who stood up for their staff and said “Enough is enough we cannot take any more cutbacks” but there I go again dreaming in the land of make believe. We have just ventured into another local dispute, this time we are challenging the Governor’s financial cuts to uniform posts. The dispute is now in the hands of the PERG and NEC and they will hopefully agree a compromise for a win/win situation. It has been noticed by several of our members that the Governor is resorting to the code of conduct, and charging and investigating staff actions a bit too eagerly. We will be asking the Governor to use Advice and Guidance and training rather than dismissal or written warnings. We have recently had C –NOMIS installed at The Mount and what a crock of S*&T, considering that CNOMIS has been around for approximately 5 years it is still not suited to prison staff, sorry I mean residential prison staff, who have neither the time or the patience to use it. It takes to long to use, keeps breaking down and is just not a useful tool compared to the aged LIDS.

Dan B was recently seen walking towards the workshops a bit gingerly, when challenged, he said he had a sore back, being the kind person I am, I offered him advice “keep your back warm, otherwise it will get worse”, Dan replied “oh don’t worry I have a strap on, a strap on heat patch I mean” I bet you do Dan, I bet you do!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!! Matt P, The Mount’s answer to Jimmy Sommerville, with regards to his singing ability, was recently seen at a local watering hole wearing a tight black and gold embossed T-shirt singing Karaoke. When asked about this he states “I’m in touch with my feminine side” not what everyone else was saying, he has lost touch with his masculine side. Don’t you worry Matt, with stories like this you’re keeping morale up. I have recently been informed that Matt P has progressed to stage 2 of the X Factor good luck Matt. Staff changes have finally happened. Katie Pears, Jim Wylie to Residential, Christine Blackman to the OMU and many other exciting moves throughout the prison. Rumours continue to fly around the prison about the proposed 120 bed wing, and a new OMU to be built behind Dixon wing; if we keep building extra wings we will be straddling two counties, Hertfordshire and Sussex. Staff have been applying in their droves for the redundancy package, NOT, but I have been informed that Jack ‘Swafega head’ Rashid has been accepted for redundancy. Stewart K and his friend Dan B have moved into together, they have a secluded house in the village of Bovingdon, I know all the branch members here wish them both well in their new adventure. I have just been informed that this is getting serious as Dan took Stewart home to meet his parents???????????? Richard A returns to the jottings after an absence of four months, welcome back. Richard was enjoying his lie in on a rest day, he got up late and went to the bathroom, whereupon he opened the bathroom cabinet and staring him in the face was a bottle of HAIR RESTORER, now I have been in the service over twenty years, so I

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will inform Richard that his wife is dropping a slight hint regarding the lack of hair on his head. Louise B was recently seen wearing a well used shirt to work by a Residential Senior officer, the conversation went like this: Senior Officer JW, “Is that shirt grey?” Louise B “Yeah it’s grey.” Senior Officer JW “They’re supposed to be white.” Louise B “I know but I’ve got time in.” Senior Officer JW “4 years is not time in.” Michael H, AKA ‘Animal’ was recently on duty at Bedford Hospital covering a bedwatch, he was overheard chatting up a nurse saying: “It’s a dangerous job (being a prison officer) and patting his left buttock saying I’ve had to use this bad boy three or four times.” we think he meant his baton but he was seen to pat his left buttock cheek.??? Sometimes I worry about our newly qualified officers. One of our beloved dinosaurs is retiring after numerous years service, Dave Richardson joined the service when I still had brown hair, the UK had a Navy with more ships than admirals and the POA could still carry out industrial action LEGALLY. Dave is retiring after serving at Pentonville and The Mount. He is a role model to new staff, source of knowledge to others but to most he is a friend and confidant. Dave is always willing and able to listen to staff ’s concerns, worries or problems and if required, give advice. He is continuing with his golfing and managing the prison golfing club/team. Dave will be missed by everyone at the Mount. GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR RETIREMENT DAVE, YOU’VE EARNED IT. Nigel Evans, one of our Offender Management Unit officers has been awarded Ill Health Retirement, although this is a good result it is such a shame as this man wanted to continue with his career and enjoyed his work immensely, GOOD LUCK NIGEL, YOU’LL BE MISSED. I have just been informed that one of our DPSMs has gone over to the dark side, left the POA to join

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the PCS breakaway association, the PGA. I have also been informed that the PGA has written to all our DPSMs asking them to join the PGA. What happens in 2 years time when the DPSM who joined the PGA has to revert back into uniform, will they stand by that person, I think not. WARNING TO ALL DPSM THINK BEFORE YOU GO TO THE DARK SIDE, YOU ARE NOT A QUALIFIED GUV’NOR YET. YOU MIGHT NEED THE POA BEFORE THE POA NEEDS YOU.THINK BEFORE YOU JUMP SHIP. Richard A makes a second appearance in this month’s jottings, Richard performed his annual fitness test, successfully, BUT, either performing the fitness test or the fact that he completed the fitness test successfully, left Richard near to collapse, he had to be assisted to the HCC who prodded and poked Richard but eventually they decided they could not help him. As Richard left the prison, the Duty Governor stopped Richard and refused to let him drive home in his present condition. Richard you need more training outside of the detail office. Mad Dog You all know where I work

LONDON & KENT LATCHMERE HOUSE Well it’s that time of year again, yes it’s Annual Conference. That is where we all become serious, discuss, argue, ‘ave a go at our employer and blame them for all our ills. Oh, and we set our policy for the year. Of course, Latchmere being Latchmere and a pain in the rear, we have a few motions to be heard (providing we get seconders!) and will do our bit for setting and affecting Union policies. You can be assured that by granting your Chairman and Secretary an open mandate (a wise membership at Latchmere), we will also stick our oar into other motions to do our best on your behalf. Question: When is a motion not a motion? Answer; When it is a debate. Why oh why are there so many ‘debating’ motions this year at conference (24)? Motions calling for

a debate, in our view, waste time as they cannot determine policy as you cannot vote on them. Surely if you have a firm proposal, resolution or proposition, just present the motion, put forward your argument and then we can vote on whether we agree or not, determine policy and get on with business. It would also shorten the time needed for conference and thus use less of our money on conference and leave more in the pot to progress issues to protect and promote the interests of our members. Leave debates for fringe meetings and move business. Of course this is only Latchmere’s view and other branches may feel different and even have a different view of what conference is for. I think the bible for conference proceedings ‘Citrines ABC of Chairmanship’ would agree with us though. It states that ‘motions should propose action’ and that ‘they also propose some definite action’. So I do not see where debating motions sit with that view. Well a hung parliament, who’d have believed it? (oh alright you all would). Whatever the future holds for the Government, this is a period now when we need a strong Union, with sound arguments, well researched and clear defences to cuts and the support of the membership to see us through. Let us hope and trust that our representatives at national level do not let us down in this respect and that they take the time to speak with all the membership to harness our views, needs and wants for the battles ahead. We do not want any more ‘modernisation’, we do not need any more cuts (or efficiency savings) and we want the resources to do what is asked of us, simple, yes? We now have the new ‘Prison Nomis’ up and running and along with ‘In Vision – My Detail’, we are happier and more professional, more proficient, more efficient, smarter and better than ever. Great ‘aint it how a simple little change has sorted out all our problems? How did we ever manage without P Nomis? Or should it be how will we manage with it? Did no-one up top in the service know or remember that we had Resettlement Prisons? If they did, maybe they can explain the advantages of P Nomis

to us here because we can’t see ‘em. Still, maybe it is more efficient to take up to four times longer to do something now on P Nomis than it did on LIDs; I just can’t see it. No wonder I failed my Operational Manager assessment! Scott in the Gardens has said I should ‘big ‘im up’ in these jottings, so a ‘big up’ to Scott. What for I am not too sure, but I notice there are pots in the greenhouses, the eco warrior allotment’s are looking nice and that orange bucket is still stuck out there, so that must be it then. Or could he mean all the work he is doing for the Chelsea flower show, where he will mix with the hoi polloi, sip champagne and eat hors d’oeuvres with the well to do and generally large it up with the toffs and not even get us a ticket! Anyhoo,Scott, today the Chelsea Flower show, the next the Windlesham Trophy. What do you mean what is the Windlesham Trophy? Call yourself a gardener (you do don’t you)? Question; What is that stick pocket for in your uniform trousers? You may think it is for one of those old fashioned, sticky, truncheony things, but it ‘aint you know. It is a special pocket to keep your car keys in and it keeps ‘em so safe you think you have lost them and get a bus home. When you’re nearly home on the bus, you suddenly realise from that jangling around your thigh, oh sh…ugar. Of course I cannot possibly reveal what particular officer this happened to, can I? Maureen don’t worry, we’ll keep it our secret and tell no-one. The proposed new profile has finally been delivered and the committee will begin discussion with management on our return from our annual jolly (oops sorry, Conference). What a great piece of work it is and our eternal gratitude and thanks must go to the Strategy and Effectiveness group for their report, a report which will surely go down in the annals of prison service history. The profile report is a great example of how to take something that ‘aint broke and break it (if agreed). I am not an expert in profiling by any means, in fact I am no expert in anything (apart from fantasy football), but even I can see it is a pile of manure (polite

June 2010 27 8/6/10 11:46:57


Branch News

word). What we need at Latchmere is more resources, clearer accountability, more uniformed staff and people who understand resettlement but with this report we got none. Still, I am sure our discussions with management will assist them to see more clearly why the officer knows best; only a pity no-one asked or took notice of us first. The committee will keep you informed as discussions progress towards dispute (sorry I meant mutually agreed conclusion). Is it just me or are there more and more non-operational managers taking over the management of operational staff? Oh, it’s just me then – no it ‘aint, it’s true and we have yet another here at Latchmere. Now I am not saying it’s wrong, but it is wrong. Operational staff need operational managers and if non-operational managers want to manage operational staff, then I’ll say as I say for non-operational staff, if you want to become operational, take the exam and assessments, prove your worth and knowledge and become operational. Prisons are serious places with serious offenders (even resettlement prisons) and need experienced, knowledgeable and capable operational staff and managers to manage them, manage the prisoners in them and thus maintain the good order and security of the establishment. This is not the work for administrative grades. There is a place for the administrator in prisons, but it should not be on the front line involved in operations or face to face with offenders. Leave that work to the trained and hard working staff that made the effort and worked to become operational. Now the committee also met recently with the boss of bosses, Digby Griffith the District Offender Manager or DOM (I point out his title for the benefit of Ed, who was asking the committee who he was!) and we don’t think he agreed with us on administrative staff and non-operational grades, but he did say he understood our point of view. It was a fairly positive half hour with him and we raised a few issues, specifically our desire for autonomy, shortage of staff and the future of resettlement at Latchmere. You know, for a very

28 June 2010 22-28 Branch News.indd 28

senior manager, he seemed an okay sort of bloke. The committee also met recently with management and members of the Community Payback team. You know, that new idea of community pay back with teams of offenders who have not committed offences serious enough for them to be in prison, but instead ‘pay back’ the community and maintain their freedom? If you see them, they’ll be wearing those bright orange jackets with Community Payback written on them, so the community will notice and see them paying the community back. So why did we meet with them? It was because we were informed they wanted to do ‘Community Payback’ in Latchmere House, seriously. Mad as it seems, we were informed that even the DOM and Custodial Lead for London (for Ed that is the Area Manager) thought it a great idea, community payback in a prison! We had to point out the obvious to ‘em. How can the community see those on Community Payback in a prison? What about mixing with serving offenders? They believed they could take over the old workshop 3 and work in there making park benches or some sort of woodwork. Now it would cost a lot of money to bring that old place up to scratch and in keeping with health and safety legislation, but what would the offenders be classed as working in there? Visitors or contract staff we were told. Then how would they pass the CRO check? Cue much laughter and merriment. The lack of understanding and naivety sometimes of those in high positions never ceases to amaze me. As I indicated before, just ask the officer how to run a prison and he/she will tell you and almost always be right. We are now moving into summer with an extreme shortage of staff owing to long-term sick and one medical retirement. What is senior management doing about it? Well, not a lot really, although the DOM has approved some sort of ‘fasttrack’ process to get an officer to replace our member who has been medically retired. I suspect that ‘fast-track’ process will not get us an officer anytime soon or before summer ends, but if we wish hard enough and cross our fingers, I may

for once be wrong and by the time you read this, we will have our officer. Talking about medical retirement, we all know who was medically retired and although I wanted to, she does not want her name mentioned in print, so I will respect that. She had though, suffered tremendously throughout the last three years and despite a real effort on her part and our full support, she was unable to continue at Latchmere. This was one matter where I have to give a big thumbs up to the management at Latchmere for their support for her and I know that support was appreciated. Also, all of you members here at Latchmere were supportive and did all you could to help and on her behalf I’ll pass on her thanks to you all. So it is a fond farewell and best wishes for the future and although I am sure you will miss some of the gossip, laughs and laid back nature at Latchmere you deserve more than the Prison Service gave you. I trust that your aspirations, aims and hope for the future are realised, you deserve it. We also had staff that applied for the early exit package but didn’t get it. In fact I don’t know anyone, anywhere who got it, do you? I know a lot of members thought the offer was rubbish, but hey it was voluntary and better than most private companies offer as a redundancy package. I would have gone for it, but I see my job as a vocation, a calling if you like and I am still being called!!! (Oh go on then put your own view on what you would call me). We must also say welcome, albeit temporarily, to Governor Vanessa Frake on loan from the Scrubs to cover for our crocked I/C Steve Dixey. Poor old Steve is out of the picture for a while with his back (prolapsed disc or something like that) and it could be sometime before he returns. That’ll teach him for saying he could run this prison lying down! Seriously though, get well soon Steve, for as good as Vanessa is, she ‘aint you. Vanessa, enjoy your stay with us, we are different from the Scrubs, but no less important, just a little more laid back. Andy

LONDON & KENT WANDSWORTH Staff shortages here, combined with the failure of the Prison Service to recruit staff is beginning to see the previous good work creak at the seams. Wings are operating at MSL’s or sometimes below! I wonder if the Governor or Area Manager are aware of their agreed document being abused in such a way? An old spectre of staff going home at the end of their shift has arisen again. Our members do not go home leaving the prison unsafe and Bulletin 8 is clear enough about retaining staff beyond their shift finish times. ‘Freezing’ the gate does and will inflame the situation but of course, it’s only the under recruited staff who work with prisoners who are stopped from leaving on time. There was a recent Employment Tribunal ruling for one our dismissed members. It was a case that our former legal advisors saw a less than 50% chance of winning. I took a different view and supported the member at the 5 day tribunal and won! The case surrounded prisoner allegations. A recent disciplinary hearing where one of our members was facing a charge of gross misconduct and losing his job over an allegation of fraud had the charges dismissed after a thorough hearing of the investigation by the hearing Governor. The May Day Rally in London was attended by the usual stalwarts, raising the profile of our Union within the trade union movement. As much as we want to take strike action over issues that impact on us, let us not lose sight of our need to get our right to strike back. I would have thought the two would go hand in hand? A recent branch meeting, although not heavily attended, did bring up a number of issues for the Committee to take forward, which was very good, as it is the Branch that should formulate the policy and work for the Committee. I hope it will have been a good conference. Stewart McLaughlin Branch Secretary

Gatelodge 8/6/10 11:47:06


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8/6/10 14:32:53


North of the Border – Levy & McRae

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30 June 2009 30 levy and mc.indd 30

Litigation department Sandra Biggart Laura Salmond Callum Anderson Ross Milvenan Ewen Campbell David Adams Amy Williamson Greg Sibbald Mark Dunn Catherine McGowan John Thomson Ann Green Iain Butler Commercial department Maureen Stevenson Gary Booth Geraldine Darroch Karen Millar

Gatelodge 8/6/10 11:47:47


Thompsons

We welcome the new Government’s commitment to a compassionate society, one that values fairness and responsibility and the pledge by David Cameron to look after the frail, the elderly and the poorest in society. What better way to deliver on this commitment than to set a timetable for establishing an Employers Liability Insurance Bureau (ELIB) and a database of employer liability (EL) insurance policies? The trade unions and Thompsons have campaigned for an ELIB because there are thousands of asbestos victims – many dying from the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma - across the UK who receive no compensation from the employer who caused their illness. This is because the company has ceased trading and an insurer cannot be traced. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) runs a tracing scheme. But because it is voluntary, it is up to insurance companies to choose to put policies into it. Unsurprising that it traces under half of the policies requested. An ELIB would be an insurance fund of last resort for employer liability claims where the employer no longer exists and the insurer cannot be traced. It would be much like the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) scheme for those who are injured or killed by uninsured car drivers. The MIB pays in full from a fund made up of contributions from every motor insurer. The former Labour Government launched a public consultation on the setting up of an ELIB. The consultation ended the day before the general election. Setting it up would be an early opportunity for the Con-Lib coalition to practice what it preaches. A government that values fairness and responsibility would surely be appalled to hear, as was suggested to us by Department for Work and Pensions officials during the consultation process, that insurance companies, which are opposed to an ELIB, are contemplating destroying old EL policies rather than going to the trouble of putting them on the new database.

Gatelodge 31 Thompsons.indd 62

Even a leading member of the insurance industry has said insurers are trying to walk away from their obligations to pay out on historic policies which they cannot trace. In our long running campaign for Tom Jones of Thompsons Solicitors an ELIB, that is what we have always feared. If insurers give the fullest possible historical data to the tracing office, an ELIB need only step in as a successful insurer of last resort. And, with the insurance industry funding it, and the government intent on cutting public spending, it won’t cost the taxpayer a penny. The insurance industry has a vested interest in the tracing office and providing maximum information to it. It will benefit from having a more efficient process for paying EL claims across multiple contributing parties. But they have also said that paying into an ELIB will force them to increase premiums for employers. Insurer profits remain buoyant. To increase premiums because of an ELIB would mean they profit twice – from the premiums they collected on policies they are now unable to trace, and again by imposing increases on new policies. Ian Hall and his family were recently told by the High Court that, although the probability was that his ex employers were insured, his mesothelioma claim failed because it could not be proven who the insurers were. Cameron and Clegg can put flesh on the bones of the fairer, better Britain they talk of for Ian and his family by a single, simple step. Tom Jones

June 2010 31 8/6/10 11:48:20


Obituaries

COLIN WOLFENDEN It is with deep sadness that I have to inform you of the death of Colin Wolfenden who passed away on 4th May 2010, I know everyone’s thoughts are with Babs and her family, Colin was a great friend to everyone and a real character at Coldingley where he served since 1974. His funeral took place on Friday 14th May 2010, and there was a tremendous turn out for him and his family including a Prison Service guard of honour. POA HMP Coldingley

SENIOR OFFICER JACK SMITH It is with deep regret that we announce the death of former Senior Officer Jack Smith. Jack started the Prison Service on 23rd of August 1971, transferred on promotion to Senior Officer at Birmingham in 1988 before returning to Stafford in 1992 and finally retired on 10th May 1997. Jack never had a day’s sick throughout his whole service and was never late on duty. He was an avid Derby County supporter. Jack was an ‘old school’ Senior Officer and was a very popular man and along with Beryl, his wife, attended rock and roll events across the area. Alas, his wife died 4 weeks after Jack. They leave a son and 3 grandchildren. Jack will be sadly missed by all staff past and present that knew him, and more by me as Jack was a personal friend having spent many holidays and caravanning weekends with him. RIP Jack Officer Graham Stevens HMP Stafford

OFFICER RICHARD ‘RICHIE’ GRAHAM It is with deep regret that I write to inform the membership of the untimely and unexpected death of Officer Richard Graham. Richard had 20 years service in and in that time had worked at HMP Birmingham as a discipline officer and transferred to HMP Stafford as a healthcare officer. It was whilst in this role that Richard was decorated for his actions in trying to save the life of a prisoner who had set fire to his barricaded cell. The prisoner received severe burns and was airlifted to Birmingham Hospital where he later died of his injuries. When the healthcare officers where removed, Richard transferred back to discipline duties where he later became a dog handler. It was during this period that he became a retained fireman, again serving the public. It was whilst serving as a retained fireman that he got injured, the fire engine was reversing and ran over Richard’s foot; it became a standing joke between Richard and I used to say to Richard that .” I could understand you not seeing a 30 odd ton truck with flashing lights and reversing klaxons going reversing back.” Richard used to laugh at this. He took an active part in any rugby tours, not playing, but at the social side he was a master. I knew him for approximately 15 years and have only, since his death found out that he was an accomplished jazz pianist which, according to my source herself an accomplished pianist, is an art in itself. Richard will be sorely missed not only by me but everyone that knew him especially those closest to him, Officers Andy Holmes, Dave Whittaker and Steve Mottram. Richard leaves a wife and two young sons. As Richard used to finish his texts and e-mails, I make no excuses for pinching his line “Now then Steve’y boy say hello to the good guys for me…you know who they are.”

THERESA ELIZABETH ANNE OXBY 11/01/1956 – 12/02 2010 It is with deepest regret we have to announce the death of Liz Oxby on 12th of February 2010, loving wife of Steve Oxby Branch Chairman at Rampton Hospital. Liz devoted her life to nursing being in the profession for nearly 30 years, 26 of those years at Rampton Hospital as a qualified Psychiatric Nurse, when she retired on ill health grounds in 2007 she had spent over 10 years as a committee member fighting any injustices for her work colleagues that came her way, and although she was very petite, woe betide any manager that stood in her way. There has been over £400 raised in her name to be split between the Dogs Trust and the RSPCA. Both charities were very dear to her heart, our thoughts at this sad time are with Steve her devoted husband of 30 years who will have our love and support for as long as it takes. Rest in peace Liz, you will be sadly missed. Nick Cardy Branch Secretary Rampton Hospital

RIP Richard Steve “chumley” Warner HMP Stafford

32 June 2010 32-33 Obituaries.indd 32

Gatelodge 8/6/10 11:48:55


Obituaries

ROGER ANDREW BENNETT I first met Roger in 1961 shortly after he joined the Prison Service at Pentonville Prison in North London. Like many officers posted to that establishment it was not among his choices when postings were being considered. This grey, rather forbidding fortress standing on the Caledonian Road in Islington was rarely a choice for new entrants to the service. This was particularly so for married officers, as there was a shortage of official quarters, and as it is today, private accommodation was very expensive. Roger had completed 3 years service in the Coldstream Guards prior to joining the service. Seeing him working on the landings at the ‘Ville it was easy to spot his previous occupation. An immaculately turned out officer, whose bearing and attitude to both staff and prisoners made an immediate impression. It was a difficult prison to work in, as only recidivist prisoners were sent there. Roger’s calm and thoughtful manner was clearly of real value in the management of often difficult prisoners. His skills were frequently called on in the manning of a special escort, or assisting with a difficult control situation. He was a superb colleague, maintaining excellent relationships with staff of all disciplines. Although a quiet, unassuming man, his views and proposals carried considerable weight among his peer group, and also with the senior ranks. He was not easily persuaded by the arguments used to present some new trend setting policy, and I would recognise the raising of a quizzical eyebrow followed by a smile. He was a good listener, and his advice was often sought by less experienced staff. Roger cared for those he worked with. He gave very strong support to the Prison Officers’ Association at Pentonville in their efforts to improve working conditions. His work in later years with the Association led to the award of Honorary Life Membership. He greatly appreciated this honour. During his first few years at Pentonville he often spoke of his desire to obtain a posting to his beloved Yorkshire. He always felt that for Maureen and their daughters, such a move would provide the environment and quality of life that he wanted for them. His requests for a transfer were not successful. In 1966 he resigned from the service, and accepted an appointment as Head of Security for a company based in Selby, Yorkshire. However, He rejoined the Prison Service in 1969, but his posting was back to Pentonville! Promotion eventually gave him the opportunity to return to Yorkshire, serving at Wakefield, Leeds, Kirklevington, and as a Governor grade at Northallerton. He retired from the service in 1996. He maintained contact with former and serving colleagues, and was very much involved in the organising of the Leeds Prison Reunion, and was still organising the event for this year. Maureen and Amanda will continue with the arrangements for this reunion in memory of Roger, and his commitment to this special event. I always looked forward to meeting him on those occasions when he was able to attend the Pentonville reunion where he always received a warm welcome from his former colleagues. At those events when he spoke about the family it was clear how proud he was of Maureen, Amanda, Paula, and Samantha. His love for Maureen and family was central to his life: he was also a very proud grandfather. In retirement he kept himself occupied with a variety of interests. He enjoyed part-time work as a gamekeeper. His love of cricket continued with his work as groundsman for Thorp Perrow Cricket Club, and later he made a special contribution looking after the wicket of South Milford Cricket Club. It was reported that as a boy, Roger slept with his cricket bat! He also enjoyed working as a part-time tour guide for Theakston’s Brewery, and the Castle Museum in York. His interest in young people was reflected in his membership of

Gatelodge 32-33 Obituaries.indd 33

the Valley Parade Memorial Tournament Committee. This event promotes an International Festival of Football each Easter for schoolboys from Bradford and Europe. The two Fair Play Cups were to have been presented to Roger this Easter for him to present to the winners each year, but sadly he died before this event. They have now been dedicated to his memory, and will be played for each year at the Tournament. On Boxing Day 2009 he celebrated his Golden Wedding Anniversary with Maureen, his daughters, grandchildren, family and friends. Roger was a warm and generous man with a quiet sense of humour. He had a strong appreciation of the values that really matter in life. His funeral service was held in the beautiful surroundings of York Minster, and celebrated his life, a life that had achieved fulfilment. He is survived by his wife Maureen, three daughters, and four grandchildren. Roger Andrew Bennett died from Amyloidosis on 27th March 2010. He was 70. Gerry Ross

June 2010 33 8/6/10 11:49:04


Sports Scene

The Challenge is on! Back by popular demand the Challenge is on!!!! I have booked the weather so rain all the way again! Weatherspoons are chilling down the refreshments as we speak so dig out the lycra and polish off the bike. I will try and sort out transport back from Exeter this time but if anyone knows a friendly coach company or has a 7.5 ton van we can put the bikes in to get people back to Dartmoor please let me know as this will save money and more then goes to the charity. The plan is that we meet around 07.30 on 21st July 2010 have a ride brief in the mess at Dartmoor (out of the burning rays of the sun!!!) and set off around 08.00 heading for Channings Wood and lunch at the mess. (TBC if the Wood can put on a spread like it did last year as funds are tight so stand by for further instructions as I get the begging bowl out) if not then there will be snacks on one of the support vehicles. We will then take the same route to Teignmouth and Dawlish (having swept the sea wall of sea weed that was not to some of your liking last year!!) then on to Exeter for collecting and refreshments at the Imperial. Minimum sponsorship will be £50.00 this will then cover a 7.5 ton van and coach if we need one back to Dartmoor. If people are happy to make their own arrangements then we can give the whole lot to Help for Heroes and this would make

me a very happy bunny. There is an option of doing a shorter, flatter route from Channings after lunch (this is the favoured option of the PEI’s) so if you would like to meet us there you are welcome, however you will have to make arrangements for your own transport back to Channings to pick up cars etc. The ride is open to allcomers so please encourage friends, relatives, boyfriends, girlfriends and anyone willing to dig out their penny farthings to have a go for this magnificent charity so send this e-mail to them now before you forget, you never know the people you invite may be slower than you are!!!!!. Any offers of support vehicles would be much appreciated, and if you would like a Help for Heroes T-shirt please let me know with your size. I think I can still get these from Help for Heroes for around £10 but that is subject to confirmation. Please see the sponsor form on page 35, but please contact me if you require any more info. We made £1000 on the day last year ladies & gents lets see what we can do this year and remember “They gave for you, please give for them” Yours faithfully Paul Cowell, Orderly Officer HMP Dartmoor Tel: 01822 322000 Ext: 2042

The North Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge The challenge was a 25 mile walk over three peaks in North Yorkshire, we completed it in 9hrs and 22mins for the Southend Cystic Fibrosis Association. We are still collecting the money, but we should have about £350 for the charity. Thanks to all those that supported the challenge and our number 1 Gov Phil Wragg, for the loan of the prison people carrier. Group names, Off Dave Knight, Off Ben Limoi, Off Brett Scott, Off Alan Busher, Off Bill Parker All serving Officers from HMP Belmarsh (High Security Unit).

34 June 2010 34-35 Sports Scene.indd 34

If you are interested in playing or being involved with Prison Service Rugby League, contact or e-mail: Tony Dennison, HMP Lancaster Castle Derek Pitcher, HMP Preston Darren Stansfield, HMP Hull.

Gatelodge 8/6/10 11:49:51


Sports Scene

HELP for HEROES S u p p o r t f o r o u r Wo u n d e d

SPONSORSHIP AND GIFT AID FORM

Name of the Person being Sponsored: ________________________________________________ Address: _______________________________________________ Postcode: ________________ Age (if under 18): ________________________________________________________________ Visit my Help for Heroes Event Page at: ______________________________________________ This person is being sponsored to:___________________________________________________ On (date): __________________ At (place of event): ___________________________________ GIFT AID: Please note that you must pay an amount of Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax at least equal to the tax that Help for Heroes claims on your donations in the appropriate tax year (currently 25p for each £1 you give). Name Home Address Postcode Amount Amount Date GIFT Pledged Given Given AID

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! Help for Heroes, Unit 6 Aspire Business Centre, Ordnance Road, Tidworth, Hants SP9 7QD Telephone:0845 673 1760 Email:info@helpforheroes.org.uk Website:www.helpforheroes.org.uk

Help for Heroes is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England and Wales Under Number 6363256. Registered Charity No:1120920

Gatelodge 34-35 Sports Scene.indd 35

June 2010 35 8/6/10 11:50:21


Postbag

Colleagues... The Branch sends Brian Caton its very best wishes for a long and satisfying retirement and thanks him for all his hard work and dedication to the Union as a whole...Locally, we also extend our thanks and we appreciated him taking the time to visit our establishment on his grand tour before he hung up his tallies.

Apathy or Torpidity; ‘Does it really matter’. I observe the matters relating to the Union with interest, and have done for the 21 years I have been an employee of the Prison Service. I wouldn’t by any stretch of the imagination call myself an ‘activist’ although I do like to see that everything is done fairly and equitably. I first put myself forward for local committee approximately seven years ago when I was one of those with a big mouth who questioned the actions of the then committee, not that what they were doing was so outrageously wrong, but nevertheless a change was needed. I have been involved with committees since, even after transfer of establishment. What gives me the greatest cause for concern is not the perceived indecision that is apparent from time to time with the NEC, nor is it the cloud of threat from central Government that hovers over us and neither is it the ineptitude of the Prison Service Management. I say this as a generalisation of PSM, because I have worked with some good governors and still do, but the mentality and obstructiveness of those in the ivory tower beggar belief. Even this is not my gripe.

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We started off in the morning with tea and biscuits and various conversations on the finer points of socialism in today’s society...by mid morning, filled with righteous indignation against the bourgeoisie we managed a wee walk about parts of the establishment just to remind him (and as was pointed out by everyone we encountered) myself included...what prisoners and the real part of the jail looked like. For that I would like to thank everyone who spoke to me, for the witty banter during our wee tour...and NO...there was not a ‘no movement’ call put out before I was allowed to see the finer workings of the establishment. After the walk about, we took Brian up to see both Governors and sat down to nice lunch where Gordon Pike, our national rep finally presented him with a Quaich...I say finally because he refused to hand over the going away gift until he was sure Brian was in fact going away. Scotsmen always ensure we do not spend money unless we absolutely need to. The committee handed him a wee malt to toast his retirement for his new Quaich. Brian, cheers for being a stalwart of the Union and all the very best in whatever you decide to do in your retirement. The Shotts Branch will raise a glass or two to your good health and wish you nothing but the best. John Dickson Branch Secretary HMP Shotts.

What gives me the most reason to doubt the effectiveness of this association is the apparent apathy of the membership. As branch officials we have from time-to-time to ask the membership to take a stand and be counted, give a little back to the bigger picture. I agree that the willingness at branch meetings to support is there, but the putting into practice requires a different degree of commitment, and quite honestly, it doesn’t seem to be there. My belief is that the membership want the end result of whatever the ‘struggle’ will bring, but they expect the NEC and local officials to deliver without their help. It can’t be done. This torpidity has to cease and the membership have to ferment the will to deliver on the loyalty so readily shown by a show of hands, but so sadly rarely materialises. If we don’t stand together, then the future of this Union as a contender ‘punching above our weight’ will be no more. John Thornhill Branch Secretary HMP Whatton.

Gatelodge 8/6/10 11:51:02


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Hospice of Saint Francis, Berkhamsted Over the last few months the POA staff in the PE Department at HMP The Mount have been co-ordinating money raising events for the Hospice of Saint Francis in Berkhamsted. They are almost at their target of raising the £2,500 to purchase a specialised mattress. Future events already planned are: • Staff performing the Three Peaks Challenge, Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scaffiel Pike

HMP The Mount 3 Peaks Challenge Training

As you can see we have a multi national team doing the 3 Peaks Challenge, from left to right, Steve ‘look at my lovely knees’ Fitzsimmons, (Ireland) Mark ‘I can hold onto my hips all day like this’ Kates (England) Jim, ‘I have my SPDR knee pads on and don’t care’ Leonard (Scotland) Tony ‘what did you say to me’ Oliver (Also England) We all wish them well Jim Wylie HMP The Mount

It is now 20 years since I left HMP Sudbury to join the Works Dept at Wymott and I still hold fond memories of my time at Sudbury (first posting and all that). I made many friends there in that time to which I would like to say “Hi guys”. My email address is www.spaghettichetti@ googlemail.com, drop me a line. Phil Door are you still at Lincoln? Wymott mates can also write!! I only live 200 yards from the fence but I generally only get to wave at them as they pass in cars! I also have to pass on some sad news that my cousin Jack Chetwynd who served at Risley some years ago passed away aged 64 recently. One of his contempories (also my ex brother in law) Steve Roberts, also passed away. They had served together. I will be attending the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Show at Uttoxeter racecourse in mid July if anyone would like to meet for a FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST?

I joined the Prison Service in 1987 and the first time I went in the staff tea room, what did I hear? Well of course the constant moaning of staff. Twenty odd years later what do I hear? Well yes of course the constant moaning of staff! What has changed? Not a lot in the aforementioned moaning stakes, (and yes I admit to moaning as loudly as any of my peers), but a massive amount of change in the workplace, and our future working conditions has happened. Our masters have now achieved many of the things they aspired to when they opened the Wolds. Pay and conditions of new starters savagely cut, with no possible hope for most of them to ever achieve the top salary for a basic grade officer, and the added insult to all of us that management sees fit to pay office bound staff more than the staff who actually work at the coal face! You couldn’t write it! But our masters certainly can. Workforce Modernisation via the back door is alive, well and kicking, and make no mistake, is here to stay. More will be implemented in the fullness of time, and unfortunately there will be little we can or indeed will do about it. Here at HMP Nottingham our Senior Officers have just received the good news that they will be required to perform the duties of the Oscar 1 role during the core day. With no disrespect intended towards any of them, I am confident that many of them will feel trepidation at the prospect of basically being in charge of the Establishment for a day with all of the attendant problems that this will bring to bear on them, and all having had hardly any training whatsoever for this extremely onerous and responsible task. Shafted or what? With an insultingly low increase in pay to compensate for a massive increase in responsibility. And guess what? While the Senior Officers will be busy pulling in the Principal Officers work, the longer serving basic grades will be rewarded with some of the Senior Officers chores, and yes you guessed it, all for no extra reward. I remember well the election that gave us our present Government. The NEC of the day tacitly encouraged us to vote Labour, in the mistaken belief that they would act in our best interests. Well they were wrong. The Labour Government did what any government does, acted in their own best interests, and has gone happily down the path of privatisation, and will continue to do so. As the present expenses scandal has shown, none of them are any better than the other, and never will be. On that happy note I will end my little moan, nothing will change, only that our conditions of service will erode year on year, and you can put your boot and shoe money on that! Alan Spafford.

Cheers Bob Chetwynd in Leyland

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April 2010 37 8/6/10 11:51:15


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Colleagues

Letter to Brian Caton

I have received a letter from Afghanistan with reference to Parcels4troops which the supported charity of the POA(S) conference 2009 at Pitlochry Scotland: I would like to say a massive thank you to you for the parcels I have received from Parcels4troops, these parcels were donated by the Scottish Prison Officer’s Association. It was a surprise to receive the boxes but fantastic to think of the effort you all go into to provide these boxes for us over here. As you stated you saw the article in the Sunday Mail and the TV Documentary about us. I have received lots of letters from people at home saying how impressed and inspired they are by the job we do out here. It is very nice to get the support from people back home.

Dear Brian, I am writing to thank you very much indeed for speaking at the rally on Saturday. I know that it was not specifically a National Pensioners Convention event, for the organising committee represented all those who campaigned for and took part in it. But I would like you to know that the support and active participation of busy people like you has given tremendous encouragement to our members, who are so anxious to defend the welfare state and public services for future generations. We know that the maximum unity must be built to achieve this. Again, on behalf of the officers and members of the NPC. I send our thanks.

Again a huge thank you for all your support. Yours Cpl Mike Taylor MERT, Camp Bastion, BFPO 792

Thank You Birmingham Prison Colleagues, We wish to place on record our sincere thanks to the Governor at H.M.P. Birmingham, the POA Committee and all the staff for their help and friendliness during our brief month of Detached Duty throughout March 2010. We were there due to security issues and threats etc relating to our jobs. We’d also like to thank the Duty Principal Officers on evening duty who gave us the odd ‘flyer.’ With over an hour of travelling in each direction, it really did make a difference. Collectively, you run a very difficult and demanding prison with true professionalism and good humour whilst maintaining a well balanced regime with decency and discipline. It would

This poetic jailer isn’t just your average 4x2 He’s always got a book to read and a pad for poems too He’s no longer that committed to the prison system cause Let’s face it, they don’t do much these days deserving of applause It’s all about the bottom line, how to save the Government money If that means saftey’s on the slide it isn’t really funny But we save the Governor’s budget doing things we shouldn’t do Cutting corners everyday, I know I do it too So the core day changes yet again to fit more in every hour We’ve only got ourselves to blame, we’ve given them the power Now a prison day is 28 hours long, not the usual 24 But screws being screws we’ll make it work, as we’ve stupidly done before Now J.E.S is on the scene evaluating every minute An officer’s hour will shortly have more than the usual 60 in it But we’ll soon sign the sheets and work out cheats and improve how we cut corners And follow like a letter of law all the bloody Governors Orders We will feed them while we treat them and at the same time shower the gym And if a prisoner can’t bend down low enough we’ll wipe his a*** for him We’ve MDTs and VDTs and ACCTs and LBBs What’s the abbreviation for crying on your knees The pension age is going up, almost everyday

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Best wishes Dot Gibson, General Secretary

certainly appear that having these two key objectives, in the correct ratio, makes for a good healthy prison. We both thoroughly enjoyed our stay there and working with you all. However, the biggest thank you must go to all the SO’s, O.S.Gs and officers on the visits group, you were very welcoming and friendly; we couldn’t have asked for any more. We hope you are all recognised for your professionalism and affable approach to all of those you encounter on a daily basis. We wish you and your families all the best for the future. Thanks again. Officers Graham Soult & Helen Rosie (Minnis) Sudbury.

If there’s any truth in rumours they’re reducing our pay Never mind, the job’s not bad, I still enjoy the chat Just don’t let the Government know or they’ll put a tax on that I think I have the answer, after quite a lot of thought Give the prisoners sets of keys and let them self report The savings would be brilliant, the Governor’s bonus would rise as well Any prisoner not returned one night would class as ‘time out of cell’ There’s PSL and MSL and warders out on loan So one day soon coz ‘My Details’ f***ed I’ll run the houseblock on my own I’ll probably get a bonus or a bit of double time Then I’ll wake up in a sweat, I was dreaming all the time But it is reality everyday on prison wings Moral is at an all time low and that’s the saddest thing So I carry on regardless and try not to rant and rage And hopefully I’ll live about 40 years past pensionable age It’s not just living long I want, I want to see the Governor before I die Knowing I’d drawn all that pension pay will bring a tear to his eye.

Officer N Beckwith HMP Holme House

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The Never Ending Fight Colleagues, “We’ve come a long way, but a longer way lies ahead before the rewards and conditions of the job match up to responsibilities that increase almost daily.” Not my words but those of Harley Cronin M.B.E our first General Secretary, taken from his book “The Screw Turns” first published in 1967 and republished on 2004. Who can honestly say that those same words don’t ring true today, just as they were 43 years ago when they were first written? Though we have moved into a new century, our managers, just as they did in Harley’s day - have remained in the previous one. At a meeting with a Representative Board in Harley’s time the official side announced: “There is no understaffing in our prisons.” How many times since has that been said since in POA/management meetings at all levels? Where pay was concerned he had to fight to get an award of ‘fi ve bob’ a week for officers going up to fifteen shillings for a Chief Officer. Nowadays the reality is that we have to fight to keep what we’ve earned, never mind get reasonable compensatory reward proportionate for what we are now required to do. Year upon year in recent times, the members of this Union have met ever increasing budgetary demands imposed on them by those in power who have continued to expect ‘More for Less,’ not just in wages, but also in the proper resources required to meet the ever increasing need of the Ministry of Justice. More and more, the burdens that are put on the members of this Union have increased, not only through population increases in offenders in custody across the estate, not only through the work that needs to be done with them whilst they are in custody, but also in the increase of the types of offender that the Prison Service is having to deal with, such as those with immigration issues or those with mental health problems. This Union since Harley Cronin’s time has aimed to do nothing

Why should I be surprised On the 14th January 2010, I was assaulted by an angry and aggressive prisoner and received injuries, although only minor, still injuries. C&R was used on this prisoner and he was moved under restraint to the Segregation Unit where he stayed overnight and was relocated to another wing the following morning. The Governor’s Adjudication took place, during which he claimed that he had been assaulted and had witnesses, but would not name his witnesses because the prison service would threaten them. The Adjudication was remanded for him to gain legal representation and also for the Independent Adjudicator’s next visit. From then onwards, everything was in support of the prisoner/ perpetrator and not the Officer/victim. • I was subjected to a police investigation • His solicitor asked for more time (three weeks not enough) • Other occasions, they said that they were not informed of the dates. (Not true) • The final adjudication was put on for the 30th March 2010, but the day before the Adjudication, the prisoner’s solicitor telephoned the prison to say that the Judge would not

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more than to promote and further the aims, interests and wishes of its members in all areas that are of concern to them. However such is the concern of its members in the way that Government over the years has devalued the work they do, that more and more it is becoming incumbent on them not only to fight for their own good, but that of the service as a whole. This is a damning indictment, but a true one. At every opportunity successive Governments have tried to get rid of the responsibility for the Prison Service. They would deny this of course, by claiming that all they want is value for money for the taxpayer. That being the case, why do we have privately run prisons? Why is there the continual threat in regard to market testing? Especially when the Government has the means to put those prisons privatised back into the public sector if it was sincere in its sentiments. As time has gone on the battles that continue and those that have been fought have had different names such as Fresh Start, Privatisation, Market Testing, Work Force Modernisation, Pensions or full Trade Union Rights restoration – the fight has always remained and always will. Only when this and future Governments, this and future controlling bodies, this and future Prison Service managerial bodies at all levels learn that the only way forward for the good of all concerned is to work with your workforce, not to demand of it or work against it, will they ever reach their goals both business wise and in industrial relation harmony. Harley Cronin in his 1967 foreword asked: “Even a worm will turn, so why not a screw? To use the slang name favoured by old lags and so commonly applied to the prison officer.” He ended the paragraph: “It is surely by now the turn of the screw to speak.” This Union’s representatives have been doing so on its member’s behalf ever since he passed that responsibility on. The trouble is it’s a never ending fight. Gary Day HMP Moorland

be attending. (Why was it cancelled, and why was it the prisoner’s solicitor that informed the segregation unit?) • The prisoner was discharged on the following Monday 5th April 2010 without the adjudication being completed. Yet again the system failed the victim and came up trumps for the perpetrator. I have been given several different reasons from MANAGERS why the system failed but I feel this is irrelevant. The system did fail and because there was no adjudication, there was no finding of guilt. If there was no finding of guilt, there could not have been an assault. Why should I be surprised, this is not the first time this has happened to me and I do know that it has happened to many of my colleagues. Another assault on a member of the staff that does not count in the statistics. Andy Scott HMP Dartmoor

April 2010 39 8/6/10 11:51:35


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6/4/10 11:13:22


POA Gatelodge June 2010  

POA Gatelodge June 2010

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