HC Deb 02 March 1994 vol 238 cc738-9W
Mr. Cummings

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison officers, and at which prisons, have been disciplined in each year since 1991 for the use of racially derogatory or insulting language under the terms of the "Code of Conduct for Prison Officers Race Relations Manual" published in 1991.

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. John Cummings, dated 2 March 1994:

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question asking about the numbers of prison officers who have been disciplined for using racially derogatory or insulting language since 1991.

The Race Relations Manual to which you refer was published in 1991 as part of the Prison Service's commitment to equality of opportunity and the elimination of discrimination on improper grounds. It is not in itself a code of conduct, but a manual which consolidates all previous advice and guidance on race relations matters. The Manual makes it clear that the use of racially derogatory or insulting language towards prisoners is not acceptable.

In July 1993 a new code of discipline was introduced which cites "racial or sexual harassment or discrimination towards inmates, colleagues or members of the public" as specific examples of behaviour which may lead to disciplinary action. Since the implementation of the new code, no instances of disciplinary awards for this type of offence have been recorded. There was no requirement for all disciplinary cases under the pre-July 1993 code of discipline to be reported centrally, but we are aware of the following two cases since 1991, each concerning one officer.

Prison Result Date
High point Dismissal February 1992
Leicester Written reprimand November 1992