- Created: Friday, 22 February 2019 13:56
- Written by Nicki Jameson
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 268 February/March 2019
In the last issue of FRFI we reported on government plans to arm prison officers across the system with PAVA incapacitant spray and on how the pilot project which Prisons Minister Rory Stewart claimed to have been successful, in fact ‘was unable to conclusively demonstrate that PAVA had any direct impact on levels of prison violence [while] some staff were developing an over-reliance on PAVA... the decision-making process was at times flawed, and ... some staff will use PAVA outside of guidelines’.
On 15 December 2018, the Prison Reform Trust (PRT) called for ‘an urgent moratorium on the planned roll out of PAVA spray to prison officers in the adult male estate’. On 7 January 2019, the Morning Star, the daily newspaper of the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), responded to that call with a two-page article by Prison Officers Association (POA) chair Steve Gillan, lambasting PRT and calling on trade unionists to support the POA’s demand for PAVA. Bizarrely Gillan claims that this is necessary so that prison officers can ‘carry out the vital role of rehabilitating those in our care in a safe and decent environment’.
This is par for the course for the POA, which throughout its history has used the scare factor of dangerous prisoners to call for more staff and more weaponry, and which never calls for improved conditions or a reduction in prisoner numbers. The Morning Star published Gillan’s diatribe without comment or criticism so we can only assume that the CPB also subscribes to this barbaric view.