Campaign Response: Retirement Age Of Prison Officers

I have been contacted by constituents about the Retirement Age Of Prison Officers.

As the Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes South, I have included below my response:

I fully appreciate the vital role prison officers play in the criminal justice system, and the demanding nature of the work.

As you may be aware, prison officers are covered by the Civil Service Pension Scheme (CSPS). An individual’s normal pension age under the scheme is linked to the state pension age, so that the CSPS remains in line with developments in longevity and maintains financial sustainability.

The Government has previously attempted to take action to lower the pension age for prison officers. Sadly, these attempts have been rejected by the Prison Officers' Association (POA) membership. In 2013, a package was offered by the Government which would have allowed prison officers to retire at the lower age of 65 with heavily subsidised additional contributions to the scheme. It is worth noting that the Prison Governor Association accepted this offer and as a consequence some manager grade staff now have a lower pension age. In 2017, another offer was made where prison officers would have incurred no cost to access a pension age of 65. Unfortunately, this offer was also rejected by POA membership.

I know that HM Prison and Probation Service takes the health and safety of prison staff seriously. Staff have access to a free and confidential Employee Assistance Programme as well as a range of Occupational Health services provided by a range of healthcare professionals. To further ensure a safe working environment for staff, the Government has taken action to tackle drugs, drones and phones in prisons. As part of the Government's £2.75 billion investment to transform the prison estate, £100 million has been invested in prison security to stop contraband, such as drugs, weapons, and mobile phones from entering prisons. This included X-ray baggage scanners and metal detection equipment to enhance searching, and X-ray body scanners to detect prisoners concealing contraband inside their body. Also, The Government is increasing the use of body worn cameras to ensure that assaults on prison staff do not go unpunished.