Andrew Bridgen questions Government on prison safety

Andrew Bridgen questions the Government about the new protocol between the Prison Service, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers in relation to prison safety.

Andrew Bridgen questions the Government about the new protocol between the Prison Service, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers in relation to prison safety.

Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire) (Con): What steps he is taking to ensure the safety of prisoners and staff on the prison estate. [908095]

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Chris Grayling): We are committed to delivering safe, decent and secure prisons. Reducing the number of deaths in custody is a key priority, and we are working hard to reduce levels of violence in our prisons. We have introduced a new protocol that will ensure that when there are serious assaults on prison staff, the perpetrators will be prosecuted wherever possible.

Andrew Bridgen: What does the Secretary of State believe the new protocol between the Prison Service, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers will deliver with regard to prison safety?

Chris Grayling: I hope that it will make a big difference to our staff. I pay tribute to prison staff, who do a difficult job. It is particularly difficult at the moment, with an upsurge in violence. A lot of that is due to the prevalence of so-called legal highs—new psychoactive substances—in our prisons. We have taken a number of steps to try to restrict access to those drugs, which are absolutely unacceptable in our prisons. When serious assaults previously took place, prosecutions might not have happened because those people were in jail. Now, they will, and I hope that will be a deterrent.