Prisons: Drones

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons on 13th November 2018.

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Photo of Alex Burghart Alex Burghart Conservative, Brentwood and Ongar

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

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

In order to deal with drones, we need to focus on electronic interference with and electronic interrogation of drones. We also need better intelligence systems, but in the end, a drone is just a delivery system; it is a way of getting things into a prison. Better grilles, better netting and better processes with prison officers to ensure that we inspect the yards will be central, whether we are talking about drones or throw-overs.

Photo of Alex Burghart Alex Burghart Conservative, Brentwood and Ongar

I thank the Minister for that advice. Drones are undermining the effectiveness of a number of our prisons. Does he agree that on top of what he suggests, we should be working with the manufacturers of drones, to ensure that they are helping to keep criminals under control?

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

Absolutely. There is much more that we could do with the manufacturers of drones. Drones contain geo-fencing equipment, which prohibits them going over civil aviation space, for example. We can do more there, but we cannot just rely on software. In the end, good intelligence and good processes and procedures in prisons are the real guarantee against drones bringing in drugs.