16/02/2012

Prison Services Launch Recruitment Drive

The Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) has today launched a recruitment campaign for new Custody Officers.

It expects to recruit up to 200 officers to this new grade within the Prison Service.

NIPS Director General Colin McConnell has described the launching of the recruitment campaign as a key milestone in building a new Prison Service.

He said: "The case for fundamental reform of the Northern Ireland Prison Service has been made in successive reports and the challenge to deliver those reforms has been accepted by management and Justice Minister David Ford.

"Refreshing the workforce is a central part of the reform agenda and with staff leaving through the current Exit scheme, it provides the opportunity to introduce new recruits into the Prison Service."
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The starting salary for the new Custody Officers will be £18,000, rising to £23,000. The salary scale will increase with the successful completion of training.

Appointment will be on the principle of merit but as the Prison Service is under-represented in the number of Catholics and women in the workforce, applications from these groups will be welcomed.

Colin McConnell said: "The Northern Ireland Prison Service is there to improve public safety by reducing the risk of re-offending through the management and rehabilitation of offenders in custody.

"The role of the new Custody Officer in meeting this objective will be to maintain a safe, decent and secure environment within our prisons and ensuring that daily routines operate smoothly and effectively."

It is envisaged that the new Custody Officers will join the Service later in the year and within two years of taking up post, will be expected to obtain a Certificate of Competence qualification.

(CD/GK)

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