Yesterday in a press release I condemned the handling by the government of possible changes at Lincoln prison.
We’ve recently had a fiasco where our conservative led police authority launched proposals for a custody suite in Nettleham and the possible closure of Lincoln city police station with no effective pre-consultation or dialogue with local communities.
I’m staggered that a Conservative led government should now show such contempt for the people of Lincoln by adopting the same approach with the review of Lincoln prison without proper consultation. It appears that only through leaks has it emerged there is a fundamental review of the role and purpose of the prison being carried out.
This cavalier disregard for what local people think is shocking. The leaked news has come as a shock to many people. For example the City of Lincoln Council had no idea a possible change was on the horizon.
Chief Executive Andrew Taylor is reported to have said: “The City Council is both extremely concerned and disappointed that there has been no wider, direct public consultation on this matter. We have only heard today second-hand, about the proposals and are now awaiting further details. (reported in This is Lincolnshire 1.11.2012.)
He continued “We will do all we can to ensure that the direct and indirect social and economic consequences of this decision are fully taken into account.”
Not only is a large number of jobs at risk but it is also an important part of the local justice system.
Later this month a new piece of legislation will come into force and the prison service will have a statutory responsibility to work with the Police Commissioner to have an ‘efficient and effective criminal justice system’.
Any proposals for the change of use of Lincoln prison, in particular suggestions of its closure, must therefore be the subject of full and proper consultation with the Commissioner, unless of course they plan to rush this through before then……….. and with government that would not surprise me.
What I can tell you is that consultation is also necessary with the public, and I will demand that.
It’s time we had strong independently minded people standing up for Lincolnshire. Remember it is the Conservative led Police Authority who barely raised a murmur when its own government abolished the Police Rural Grant and distributed the money to other police forces.