THREE prison officers were hospitalised on Sunday.

In the week leading up to that, six were assaulted — and that wasn’t a particularly bad week, union rep Gary Sandison said.

“Staff should not be assaulted at all,” Mr Sandison, a Prison Officers’ Association representative, said.

“Staff should be able to come to work without the fear of being assaulted.”

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Mr Sandison works with the governor to improve working conditions for staff.

Following pressure from the union, the prison service is beginning to recognise the need for more personal protection equipment, such as rigid bar handcuffs and PAVA incapacitant spray.

Personal body worn cameras came in in January.

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“Because the public doesn’t see the work we do, people don’t realise the levels of violence we face,” Mr Sandison said.

“On Sunday, we had three members of staff end up in hospital, and that’s an all too common occurrence.

“We also have incidents where urine and faeces is thrown at staff.

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“There is a problem with spice, which can turn prisoners from one minute acting like zombies, to the next flipping out like the Hulk.

“What we do as a union is look out for the health, safety and wellbeing of staff.”

At a national level, the Prison Officers’ Association is battling for pension conditions, which recently changed, meaning officers will have to work an extra eight years or face huge financial penalties.