Bedford prison officer needed brain surgery after inmate stamped on his head

An officer at Bedford prison needed emergency brain surgery after an inmate stamped on his head.

It is understood the violent incident came days after a number of other officers from the prison were taken to A&E after being attacked.

This week some of the staff told Bedford & Kempston MP Mohammad Yasin they have “serious concerns” about their own safety.

Mr Yasin said the officers feel the prison is “out of control” and they are fearing for their lives.

The MP was today planning to raise the matter in Parliament.

Following the incident, Mark Fairhurst, chairman of the Prison Officers Association (POA), tweeted: “Horrendous weekend for staff resulting in one of our brothers needing an emergency operation to relieve pressure on the brain after being attacked and having his head stamped on.” He later added: “The safety of staff is non-negotiable and this cowardly attack on a member of staff, who was bravely trying to protect prisoners demonstrates the extreme dangers that prison officers face throughout the country.

“HMP Bedford has suffered too much from violent episodes and the insistence that large groups of prisoners are unlocked must be changed.

“We need safe regimes that ensure staff can quell violence as it occurs. We are now demanding that all staff are given the tools to keep them safe and we now insist that PAVA spray is rolled out nationally without delay.

Similar to pepper spray, PAVA spray can incapacitate an attacker without wounding them.

The Bedford attack is thought to have happened on one of the wings after dozens of cells were unlocked.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said this week: “The prison is supporting the officer involved.

“We do not tolerate any violence against our hardworking staff and will always push for the strongest punishment.”

Bedford prison was slammed last year for locking up inmates for up to 23 hours a day and sometimes failing to provide basic items such as pillows and toilet roll. It was also understaffed.

These failures contributed to the major riot at the jail in November 2016, says the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB). But IMB has since said there have been “clear improvements” made since the riot.

However some concerns remain, they state.