On Tuesday 5 September, I asked the government what it was doing to retain experienced prison officers in our prison service. The minister pointed to a net increase in prison officers compared to last year, but this does not solve the problem of the expertise and knowledge being lost from our prisons through 1,770 officers leaving last year.
It is vital that we are able to retain and develop talented public sector staff. The government needs to ensure that prisons are safe places to work, and that staff are properly rewarded for their efforts to protect and rehabilitate inmates.
While I welcome the Minister’s news about increased prison officer numbers in HMP Bristol in my constituency, I am concerned by the Department’s figures, which show that 1,770 experienced prison officers left the service last year. What is the Minister doing urgently to retain valuable experienced prison officers for the longer term?
It is always the case that people will leave an organisation voluntarily or due to retirement or—[Interruption.] May I finish my point? In some cases, people may leave because they have not been too happy with what has been happening in our Prison Service. A retention plan is available, but the numbers that I gave earlier—868 net new prison officers so far this year—take account of people leaving the service, so we are actually up on last year’s figures.
You can watch the exchange below: