Prisons: Drugs

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 9th September 2021.

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Photo of Gregory Campbell Gregory Campbell Shadow DUP Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many drug finds in prisons there have been in the (a) two year before and (b) two years since the launch of the National Prison Drug Strategy in April 2019.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Data on drugs finds are published online in the HMPPS Annual Digests. Although the data does not cover the precise period detailed in the question each Digest provides data for a 12-month time period up to March for a given year. From this data it is possible to calculate how many drug finds in prisons there have been in the two years before 1 April and the two years following 1 April 2019 (inclusive).

In August 2019, the Government committed to invest £100 million in prison security in an ambitious new Security Investment Programme. One of the aims of the Programme was to reduce the quantity of illicit items, including drugs, entering the prison estate.

Since then, we have seen the installation of 73 X-ray body scanners, with over 9000 positive indications. This has included contraband being retrieved, for example in one case 10.5g of cocaine with an estimated prison value of £4000 was recovered. The roll out of Enhanced Gate Security (EGS), based on the measures used in airport screening, has resulted in hundreds of illicit items prevented from entering prisons.

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