Claim Prisons Staff Attacked Every Two Days

11 November 2017, 06:12

Prison guard

A member of staff in Scotland's prisons is assaulted every two days by an inmate, according to the Scottish Conservatives.

Information obtained by the party under a Freedom of Information request shows that in 2016/17 190 staff were attacked by prisoners over a year.

The figure has fallen since 2015-16 when there were 204 assaults, but it has risen since 2014-2015 when 170 staff were assaulted.

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Liam Kerr highlighted the problem ahead of a visit to Kilmarnock Prison, where he will discuss how staff can reduce the level of assaults.

Despite the drop in attacks in the last year, Scottish Conservatives said more action was still needed to make prison officers and guards safer.

Shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said: "We know that prisons can be high-risk places for people to work.

"But it's shocking that staff are being exposed to this much danger in the course of their working day.

"They do a fantastic job, a vital job, and one in which they deserve more protection.

"That's something I've been raising as part of my visit to Kilmarnock.

"Any prisoner who's attacked a member of staff needs to be dealt with severely, so they know the consequences of such action just simply won't be worth it."

A spokesman for the Scottish Prison Service said its staff faced difficult and sometimes challenging circumstances, but prisons are not violent places.

He said: "We work very hard to make prisons as safe an environment as possible.

"The number of assaults has come down, but one assault is one too many."