HC Deb 01 November 1979 vol 972 c589W
Mr. Kilroy-Silk

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the prison MUFTI squad was formed; what is the number of officers involved and the nature of the training they receive; on what occasions it has been used; and on whose authority.

Mr. Whitelaw

Guidance on the handling of demonstrations and other acts of concerted indiscipline, including tactics and training in the use of minimum force to retain control of prison service establishments, was issued to governors and wardens in February 1978. The aim is to provide that all members of the governor and prison officer grades—except hospital officers—who are medically fit are trained, and training has so far been undertaken at 73 establishments. The training is designed to ensure that staff operate effectively in disciplined bodies, under firm leadership, and includes instruction in the wearing of protective equipment and restrictions on the use of force, and practice in basic drills, manoeuvres and tactics. Teams of trained officers were deployed at Gartree prison on 6 October 1978; at Wormwood Scrubs prison on 31 August 1979; at Hull prison on 11 April 1979; at Styal prison on 4 September 1979; at Lewes Prison on 1 November 1978; at Camp Hill prison on 20 September 1979; and at Brixton prison on 26 September 1979. On each occasion the decision to deploy the officers was made by the governor in accordance with the provisions of the guidance.