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Prisons: Unmanned Air Vehicles

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 23rd November 2016.

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Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Labour/Co-operative, Manchester Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to her oral contribution of 3 November 2016, Official Report, column 1071, what the (a) remit, (b) membership and (c) date of the last meeting is of the Government taskforce to address the issue of drone use and prisons.

Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We remain vigilant to all incidents involving drones and take the threat they pose to prison security very seriously. A range of methods to counter the threat posed by drones are being trialled and evaluated for their effectiveness across the prison estate. We have already introduced new legislation to further strengthen our powers, making it illegal to land a drone in prison or to use a drone to drop in contraband. We take a zero tolerance approach to smuggling of contraband into prisons and work closely with the police and Crown Prosecution Service to ensure those caught are prosecuted. Anyone found using a drone in an attempt to get contraband into prisons can be punished with a sentence of up to two years imprisonment.

However, I want to do more, specifically by setting up a government taskforce to challenge industry to help in this crucial area with Ministerial colleagues in the Department for Transport, Home Office, Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Ministry of Defence. We will work with drone manufacturers to challenge them to do more to stop the illegal use of drones in prisons.

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