‘It’s going out here any day’: Prison whistleblower lifts lid on ‘frighteningly low’ staffing levels

A whistleblower at HMP Liverpool claimed staffing levels were “appallingly low” and prison officers fearing “it’s going to explode here any day now”.

A trusted source at Walton Prison told the ECHO the prison “is in crisis” and claimed both staff and prisoners do not feel safe. The worrying allegations, handed to the ECHO over several weeks, include claims the prison is being forced to operate with 25 fewer staff than it is supposed to have on certain days.

When approached with the allegations made by the whistleblower, the Prison Officers’ Association (POA) said it would seek assurances that unsafe working practices were not a common occurrence at HMP Liverpool.

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The Ministry of Justice told the ECHO that the prison had increased its full-time staff in 2023, but sickness absence had significantly affected staffing levels. The ECHO has been told further work is underway to focus on staff wellbeing to improve attendance levels at the prison.

The allegations come almost two years after the most recent inspection of the prison by the Chief Inspector of Prisons, which found that measures taken in recent years were “very encouraging”, based on a “good approach to care, based on good personal relationships -detained”.

But the whistleblower claimed that “staff-prisoner relations are worse than they have ever been” and guards are overworked to provide adequate care and attention.

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