FEMALE prison officers are facing an increase in savage attacks, the Prison Officers Association (POA) warned yesterday.
At the TUC Women’s Conference the POA called for a zero tolerance approach to violence against female prison staff.
POA delegate Sue Gibson told conference that there has been an unacceptable rise in “potting,” urging that the offense should be classed as Actual Bodily Harm rather than common assault, as it very rarely results in prosecutions.
Ms Gibson described “potting” — where prisoners chuck their waste pots over officers — as a “planned, cynical, despicable act of violence,” used particularly against female staff.
She added that prisoners often take days to plan the assault and work in groups to carry it out.
She warned that unless action is taken this type of assault will continue.
Ms Gibson said that when she was assaulted, “prisoners were cheering,” and she faced further degradation when she had to be escorted from prison.
“If I quit, they would win,” she said. “That was something that I was not going to let happen. It was the hardest thing I had to do.”
Katie Lomas, a delegate from probation union Napo said: “We know the dangers that prison staff face every day.
“Women must be protected from disgraceful levels of violence and degradation at work.”