Buildings: Security

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 26th October 2020.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the cost of (a) installing and (b) operating millimetre scanners as part of Enhanced Gate Security measures at High Throughput Establishments in England and Wales.

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

HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) is taking decisive action to stop mobile phones and illicit substances entering prison and investing £100m to tackle crime behind bars. As part of this investment we are introducing Enhanced Gate Security (EGS) in approximately 50 priority sites. This includes archway metal detectors, wands, X-ray baggage scanners, drug dogs and any additional staff required to conduct searches and manage these new procedures.

Millimetre wave scanners operate using non-ionising electromagnetic radiation by omitting signals that enable items to be detected on the surface of the body and within clothing. Their current primary use is to screen passengers as part of airport security.

Although we remain engaged with the market on the potential of using millimetre wave scanners in prisons, our assessment from trials is that this technology does not currently meet our operational requirements within the custodial setting and does therefore support our efforts to crack down on the supply of illicit items as well as other enhanced gate security measures currently in use. Due to HMPPS’ assessment of the efficacy of this technology within the prison estate, a competitive procurement exercise has not been conducted and there are no contracted costs available.

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