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Number of assaults on prison officers falls by 37pc

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Acting Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald Photo: Tom Burke

Acting Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald Photo: Tom Burke

Acting Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald Photo: Tom Burke

The number of assaults by prisoners on prison officers last year decreased by 37pc to less than two per week on average.

Figures released by the acting Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald show that 91 assaults in 62 separate incidents were perpetrated by inmates on prison officers last year.

The total represents a 37pc reduction on the 144 assaults that were recorded for 2014 and a 41pc reduction on the 154 assaults that took place in 2013.

In a written Dáil reply to Fianna Fáil TD Jack Chambers, Ms Fitzgerald confirmed that to date this year, under the new reporting system that came into force last year, a total of seven assaults had been recorded and this compared with 31 assaults recorded for the same period last year.

The reduction in assaults has been attributed to several factors including a 20pc reduction in prisoner numbers.

The introduction of enhanced security measures by the IPS, such as hand-held metal detectors and security screening machines, are also believed to have resulted in the reduction of assaults.

Enhanced protective equipment including stab vests have also been made available for appropriate escorts.

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