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Prison fire figures raise safety concerns

March 14, 2017 2:02 PM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has uncovered figures showing that there were a record 2580 prison fires nationally last year, including at local prisons Haverigg and Lancaster Farms. Tim has said these figures raise concerns about staff and inmate safety.

The figures were provided by the Ministry of Justice following a parliamentary question by Tim. They show that there were 2580 incidents in 2016, which is a record high. This total includes 14 at Lancaster Farms prison and 9 at Haverigg Prison.

The total of 2580 prison fires in 2016 is more than double the number recorded just two years earlier, when there were 1236. These figures include deliberate acts of arson.

Since 2010, the number of prisoners has risen while the number of prison officers has fallen from about 25,000 to 18,000. The government recently announced plans to recruit more officers, though the total will remain well below the 2010 figures.

Tim said: "The number of fires in our prisons is extremely concerning, raising questions of safety for both prison officers and inmates. Prison staff have faced years of cuts. The government must now make sure that there are enough staff to maintain control of our prisons and ensure that the safety of both staff and inmates is not put at risk. With the number of prison fires on the rise, the government act now to take control of this problem."