Drones

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd January 2018.

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Photo of Jeremy Quin Jeremy Quin Conservative, Horsham 12:00 am, 23rd January 2018

What steps the Government are taking to stop the use of drones over prisons.

Photo of Rory Stewart Rory Stewart The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

I first pay tribute to my predecessor, my hon. Friend Mr Gyimah, for his extraordinary work on drones. We have done a range of work, ranging from Operation Trenton with the police, which took place in 2016, through to the conviction of over 28 individuals for drone-related offences.

Photo of Jeremy Quin Jeremy Quin Conservative, Horsham

What particular extra support is given to those prisons with a high incidence of drone attacks? Will the Minister agree to meet me to discuss potential improvements to the relevant legislation?

Photo of Rory Stewart Rory Stewart The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

We have established specialist teams for prisons that have particular vulnerabilities to drone attacks. I am very happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss some of the legislative issues. I also believe that there is much more we can do on basic issues such as netting and grills, as well as focusing on high technology.

Photo of Richard Benyon Richard Benyon Conservative, Newbury

Drones are one of the ways in which mobile phones are got into prisons, where they can be used for criminality alongside drugs. What measures are being taken to use technology to limit the use of mobile phones in prison?

Photo of Rory Stewart Rory Stewart The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Two types of technology can be used on mobile telephones. One is jamming technology, and the second, which is more commonly used in prison, is a wand to detect mobile telephones. An astonishing number of phones—at over 20,000, there are far too many—are detected in prisons. We should be addressing this in two ways. The first is by making sure that they do not get in: these are closed environments and we should be able to massively reduce the amount coming in. The second is that, by putting phones in cells to allow people to talk to their families, we can monitor the calls and control the need for phones in the first place.