Prisons: Mobile Phones

Justice written question – answered on 8th May 2014.

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Photo of Andrew Percy Andrew Percy Conservative, Brigg and Goole

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the level of illegal use of cellular devices in UK prisons; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) takes the issue of mobile phones in prisons very seriously and is committed to addressing the risks they present to both the security of prisons and the safety of the public.

NOMS has implemented a multi-layer approach: to minimise the number of mobile phones entering prisons, to find phones that do get in and to disrupt mobile phones that cannot be found. A range of technology has been rolled out to prisons to strengthen searching and security, including portable mobile phone signal detectors, Body Orifice Security Scanners (BOSS chairs), high sensitivity metal detecting wands and short range portable mobile phone blockers.

In 2012, prisons reported 7,301 seizures1 of mobile phones and/or SIM cards. All figures provided have been drawn from live administrative data systems which may be amended at any time. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system.

1 One seizure may constitute a handset containing one SIM card or media card, a handset only, or a SIM card only.

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