Prisons: Drugs

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 29th January 2020.

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Photo of Conor McGinn Conor McGinn Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to improve security standards in prisons to prevent the smuggling of illicit substances for inmates.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

We are taking decisive action to improve security to: stop illicit items being smuggled in by prisoners, staff and visitors; to strengthen staff resilience to corruption; and to target organised criminals and staff who exploit prisons as a lucrative illicit market. This package of measures is being funded through the £100m investment to tackle crime from behind bars announced by the Prime Minister last summer.

Enhanced gate security will be deployed to the most challenging prisons in the estate. Cutting-edge x-ray body scanners will target prisoners smuggling illicit items into prisons. We recently announced the first 16 sites to receive this equipment and further installations will follow this year.

Whilst the vast majority of our staff are honest and hardworking, we are also investing new resource to step up our counter corruption capability and strengthen (in scale and reach) intelligence-led operations and investigations with law enforcement partners against those that present the greatest threat of harm to prison security and the community.

We will also equip sites with new technology and staff to enhance staff and visitor searching at the gate. We have already announced the first 7 sites for this provision.

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