Strangeways staff support bid for prison

PRISON OFFICERS Association members in the beleaguered Strangeways jail yesterday said they would ignore national union policy and co-operate with the Government's plans to privatise the prison system.

Staff agreed to support a commercial, in-house bid to run the jail because the alternative would be a private sector company taking over the prison.

Their support for putting in a prison service bid to manage Strangeways marks a shift from their national union's policy. To date the national POA has opposed all of the Government's attempts to force staff to participate in 'market testing' competitions to decide who should manage Britain's prisons.

Traumatic events in Strangeways, Manchester, scene of the worst prison riots in British history in 1990, forced the policy switch.

In July officers discovered that Walter MacGowan, the governor, had been poached by Group 4, a private security company, which is likely to bid for the contract to run Strangeways next year.

Mr MacGowan had been governor for only six weeks. His defection brought home to officers how vulnerable their jobs were to a private sector purge. They accused Group 4 of 'stealing' the governor after he had acquired the inside knowledge needed to allow a private sector bid to succeed.

Yesterday Robin Halward, the emergency replacement for Mr MacGowan, said that his first aim was to ensure that the Civil Service could fight off the bid from Group 4.

Mr Halward, the former governor of Armley Prion in Leeds, who began work yesterday, said: 'My specific brief is to prepare a bid in competition with the private sector for the prison service to continue running Strangeways when it fully reopens.

'If I succeed, the prison service will continue to run Strangeways. One of the first things I will be doing is assessing the prison. It is too early yet to give a clear view of what my plans for the prison are.'

He promised a 'positive and non-oppressive' regime for inmates and staff - if his prison service bid to beat off the sector was successful. He said he believed in treating prisoners humanely and providing a 'positive and challenging regime'.

However, senior staff in Strangeways have said that the threat of privatisation had destroyed all attempts to reform the notorious jail.

Managers' time was being taken up with preparing the in house bid, they said. They were in no position to deal with criticisms of 'oppressive security' and inhumane conditions in Strangeways.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam