Guards demand stab vests and pepper spray after series of attacks by ‘dangerous’ prisoners

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GUARDS at Frankland jail should be given stab vests and pepper spray after a series of attacks on inmates and staff, say union chiefs.

 The Prison Officers’ Association is lobbying the Prison Service to issue workers at the prison, which is in Durham, with the protective gear to wear on routine duties.

 But the Prison Service says knife-proof vests could increase the likelihood of attacks.

 Tom Robson, vice-chairman of the Prison Officers’ Association, said staff at the maximum security jail undertake day-to-day duties with only a baton for protection.

 He said: “It’s one of the highest security prisons and holds the worst type of prisoners. We look after some of the most dangerous people in British society.

 “There are frequent assaults on prison officers, some serious, some less serious. There are also prisoner-to-prisoner assaults and staff are injured intervening.

 “Our best weapon will always be our ability to talk to people but we’d like to have as much protection as possible.”

 A Prison Service spokesman said current safety measures were adequate. He said: “We take the responsibility of keeping staff, prisoners and visitors safe extremely seriously.”

 He added: “Stab vests are issued to prison staff where appropriate. The decision not to issue them to all staff is kept under review as part of our commitment to reduce violence in prisons.”