§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
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. Doug Hoyle, dated 17 March 1995:The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about how many weeks basic training is given to (a) prison officers and (b) prisoner custody officers.The basic training of prison officers (ie those who work at directly managed prisons) consists of nine weeks (256 hours) residential initial training at the Prison Service College. In addition, there is two weeks before and two weeks after the formal training, which is spent at their parent establishment in observation and induction.Under the Criminal Justice Act 1991, prisoner custody officers (PCOs) may be certificated either for custodial duties at a prison or for escort functions, or both. The minimum training required for escort PCOs is 234 hours, and for custodial PCOs 269. This excludes company induction and on the job training (the equivalent of the 4 weeks observation and induction training for prison officers).