MORE than 150 ‘hidden heroes and heroines’ were celebrated at a special presentation at HMP Northumberland.
In the first ceremony of its type, nearly 50 uniformed staff were presented with long-service medals at the Acklington facility on Friday by Sir Alan Beith MP.
In total, 167 members of staff past and present received awards for 20 or more years of service, although many have more than 30 years under their belts.
Governor Matt Spencer said: “The prison service has come to recognise that prison staff do a difficult job. It’s a very nice part of my job – we have a lot of good staff, a lot of good managers and it’s nice to do this to say a small thank-you.
“We are going through a competition process to stay in the public sector so staff are having to work extra hard on that. It shows what a good establishment we are, with good people working here.”
Sir Alan said it was important to recognise the prison staff.
“Few people realise how much courage and dedication is shown by the prison service,” he said.
“It is prison officers who keep communities safe while offenders are in custody and it is prison officers whose work with prisoners can reduce the risk that they will commit more crime when they are released. People are rightly aware of the courageous work of our armed forces and our police. But prison officers deal with some of the most dangerous, disruptive and dysfunctional people in society.
“They are the hidden heroes and heroines of public protection services.”