HC Deb 18 May 1993 vol 225 cc91-3W
Mr. Blair

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement regarding the use of staff not trained as prison custody officers to escort prisoners in the east midlands and Humberside regions; if he will list all cases where such staff have been used; and whether the use of such staff breaks the terms of section H of the tender documents or his Department's contract with Group 4.

whole, the amount of transport supplementary grant payable for 1993–94 for (a) major schemes over 1 million, (b) minor road safety schemes, (c) other minor schemes and (d) other schemes accepted for transport supplementary grant.

Mr. Norris

The information is as follows:

Mr. Peter Lloyd

Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the director general of the prison service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Tony Blair, dated 15 May 1993:

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply directly to your recent Parliamentary Question about the use by Group 4 of staff not trained as prisoner custody officers in the court escort service in the East Midlands and Humberside.No untrained staff have been used by Group 4 to escort prisoners. All staff escorting prisoners have been prisoner custody officers certificated under the terms of the Criminal Justice Act 1991.On certain days during the first two weeks of the contract, Group 4 used persons other than prisoner custody officers to drive vehicles on which prisoners were being escorted by prisoner custody officers. This was in response to an unforeseen level of prisoner movements and was not Group 4's original intention, which was to use PCOs as drivers. At no time did these arrangements break the contract, nor are they different to current practice in some police forces and some parts of the Prison Service where civilians are used as drivers.