Prisons: Drug Seizures

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 12th December 2017.

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

The Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) takes seriously the ongoing challenges that substance misuse, including psychoactive substances (PS) pose to our establishments and we continue to implement a range of measures to address both the availability and use of such harmful substances. This is based on a multi-agency approach working closely with health partners and law enforcement agencies.

The HMPPS Incident Reporting System shows that of the prisons in England and Wales that recorded having a drug seizure between March and October 2017, there was an average of 69 incidents of drug finds per prison during this period.

Prisons have at their disposal a range of security measures to reduce the supply of drugs into prisons including physical searching, the use of x-ray machines, CCTV surveillance cameras, intelligence-led searches as well as drug detection dogs. HMPPS have trained more than 300 dogs to detect PS and these dogs are available to all prisons. HMPPS are also exploring additional innovative security measures and new technology to complement existing searching methods in prisons.

The introduction of mandatory drug testing for psychoactive substances in prisons in September 2016 was also a significant step to support our prisons in tackling the supply and use of these lethal drugs. We are not aware of any other prison service in the world that has introduced these innovative new tests.

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