Prisons: Smuggling

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 23rd January 2019.

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Photo of Richard Burgon Richard Burgon Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what research his Department has commissioned on the routes which are used to bring contraband into prisons.

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

Holding answer received on 22 January 2019

Our national, regional and prison-level intelligence teams and our Security Risk Unit build a picture of how various forms of contraband, including drugs and mobile phones, enter our prisons. In March last year we further augmented this capability by investing £14 million in intelligence teams and new serious and organised crime teams to work closely with the Home Office, National Crime Agency and police forces.

The research paper The Demand for and Use of Illicit Phones in Prisons published in 2018 also explains that illicit mobile phones can enter prisons in a number of ways. This can be viewed here.

Our security counter-measures then assist us to stop contraband from entering prisons, retrieve it and thereby frustrate illicit trade and further criminal activity within the prison. Most recently we have moved to draft specialist search teams into prisons across England and Wales, and invested £7 million to enhance security through scanners, improved searching techniques and phone blocking technology.

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