Investigations into alleged misconduct by prison staff have risen by a third in a year, figures have revealed. More than 2,500 charges were investigated in 2018-19, up from 1,894 the previous year. Alleged “breach of security” – which can include bringing contraband into jails – and use of “unnecessary” force contributed to the rise. The Prison Service said action was taken against the “small minority that engaged in inappropriate behaviour”. Mick Pimblett, assistant general secretary of the Prison Officers Association (POA), blamed some of the rises on inexperienced staff and a lack of training. There were 2,511 investigations into alleged misconduct by 1,286 prison staff in England and Wales in 2018-19, according to figures obtained by BBC Radio Kent. Prior to that the number of investigations had been falling. In the same time, 529 staff were disciplined, with 112 recommended for dismissal. Nearly 500 investigations into allegations of “breach of security” in prisons took place in the year ending March 2019. The charge covers a “wide range of disciplinary offences”, which can include anything from leaving an internal gate unlocked to “conveying unauthorised articles into a prison”, Mr Pimblett said. In the same year there were 169 investigations launched into alleged assaults and unnecessary use of force on prisoners.
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