To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Prisons and Probation of 1 November 2016, Official Report, column 780, what progress has been made by mobile network operators on developing a solution to prevent the unauthorised use of mobile phones in prisons.
The illicit use of mobile phones undermines the safety and security of prison which is why we are taking urgent and decisive action.
Under measures introduced in late 2016, we can now apply for Telecommunications Restriction Orders at Court to block specific mobile phones being used in prisons. Since the legislation was introduced in August, we have had more than 150 mobile phones cut off.
In addition, we have announced new measures in the Prison and Courts Bill that will allow the Secretary of State to authorise mobile network operators to block illicit mobile phone signals across entire prison sites. This will allow industry experts to work more creatively and effectively to block signals and means that we won’t require a court order to stop the illicit and harmful use of mobile phones in prisons.