§ Mr. Edward Gardner
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it is proposed to seek further to continue those provisions of the Imprisonment (Temporary Provisions) Act 1980 which will otherwise lapse on 28 February.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
No. The national industrial action by the Prison Officers' Association was initially suspended on 19 January and this suspension was confirmed by a special delegate conference of the Prison Officers' Association on 11 February. The suspension has allowed the emergency use of Frankland prison and Rollestone camp to be ended. By the end of this week, it should no longer be necessary to use police cells instead of prison accommodation. Accordingly I do not at this stage think it necessary to seek the further renewal of those powers which would otherwise lapse on 28 February.
The performance of the police and Service men who have helped with the care and custody of prisoners has been outstanding and I should like to pay tribute to the vital part they have played in maintaining the criminal justice system. I am grateful too for the understanding shown by the courts in this difficult situation. Detailed negotiations with the Prison Officers' Association on the establishment of a new duty system are proceeding.