Let’s spend more on law and order says Harborough’s MP

Gartree Prison.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-141020-135542001
Gartree Prison.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-141020-135542001

Harborough MP Neil O’Brien has called for more money to be spent on law and order after a visit to Gartree Prison, near Market Harborough.

The MP said his feeling that increasing law and order spending should be a “number one priority” in next year’s Government spending review has been confirmed by the visit, on Friday, October 19.

“We need to modernise many of our prison buildings,” he said. “That includes some of the buildings at Gartree.

“We also need to give the prison system more capacity.

“Too many people get sentences that are not proportionate – they’re too short.

“If we had more capacity in the system, we could make sure that justice is done.”

Neil was visiting Gartree Prison, following an invite from the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB).

During the visit, he took part in a roundtable discussion with prison staff, including Governor Ali Barker.

That was followed by a tour of the prison complex with members of the IMB.

Gartree is a Category B prison that holds around 700 inmates, including the largest group of life-sentenced prisoners in the UK.

Neil said, “I’m very grateful to the Officers, Governor and IMB members for taking the time to show me around and share further information with me about their respective roles at the prison.

“We had a useful discussion covering a number of areas such as modernising the estate, the impact of new technologies and drugs as well as working conditions.”

Last month, as reported in the Mail, more than 200 prison officers staged a walk-out at Gartree Prison, as part of a national day of protest.

Prison staff at Gartree told the Mail that assaults on staff had increased by 50 per cent in two years and that standards at the prison had dropped.

Neil O’Brien said: “My impression was that it was a U-shaped projectory - more staff had been recruited and standards were on the up again after a difficult time.”

He added: The staff at the prison work incredibly hard under challenging and pressured conditions and I’d like to pay tribute to them for their important work.

“I will be taking forward issues raised with me, with the Ministry of Justice to ensure their voices are heard in Westminster.”

He also thanked the IMB volunteers for “the important role they play, including reporting directly to the Secretary of State on how well the prison has performed.”