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Prison guards walk out of HMP Liverpool in defence of colleague

PRISON officers at HMP Liverpool walked out yesterday in defence of a colleague they believe was unjustly sacked.

But they returned to work after “positive” negotiations with the employer and following a statement from the prison governor clarifying policy on the use of force.

Prison officers’ union the POA said: “The walkout has been resolved and a position reached that suited the parties both locally and nationally.”

The member of staff, who had worked at the jail for 26 years, was dismissed on Wednesday following an investigation into an altercation between him and an inmate.

The Star understands that the prison officer used a “control and restraint” technique against a prisoner.

This is part of the training that officers receive for incidents in which they fear that they, their colleagues or any prisoners are at risk of physical harm.

His colleagues, who are convinced that he had used a reasonable degree of force, had reacted angrily to the news of his dismissal.

The POA warned that “prison officers face ever-increasing levels of violence, due to the unprecedented levels of drugs and debt within the prison population, and Liverpool is a high-risk prison.

“Prison officers now fear they will lose their jobs if they use force and will often allow prisoners to assault them rather than risk their employment.”

Labour shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said: “Labour stands with prison officers, who do an important job in difficult and increasingly dangerous circumstances.

“If prison officers feel it necessary to protest in this way, citing the unprecedented levels of violence they face at work, the government must take their concerns seriously.”

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