Prisons: Drugs

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 27th June 2022.

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Photo of Ellie Reeves Ellie Reeves Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how the £25 million for disrupting the supply of drugs to prison will be allocated; and what the evidential basis is for that policy.

Photo of Ellie Reeves Ellie Reeves Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, which prisons will be installed with (a) high-specification drugs trace detection, (b) mobile phone blocking technology and (c) an intelligence management system.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

In March 2022, we completed the £100 million Security Investment Programme, aimed at reducing crime in prisons, including reducing the conveyance of illicit items such as drugs and mobile phones. This included 75 X-ray body scanners which now cover the entire closed male estate. Since installation began in July 2020 approximately 20,000 positive scans have been recorded.

HMPPS uses a range of data and intelligence to understand key threats to prison security, which informs our approach to counter measures to tackle them. This additional £25 million investment package has been designed to restrict drug supply into prisons via the gate and post, for example by increasing the number of drug trace detection equipment from 125 to 160, and installing x-ray baggage scanners at 42 high priority sites; enhancing our mobile blocking technology to prevent the illicit mobile phone communications that we know facilitates the illicit economy both within and outside of the prison walls; and providing the entire prison estate with a new intelligence management system so we can understand and respond to the security threats we face.

For security reasons, we do not disclose the precise locations of our equipment. Such information could be used by prisoners, including serious and organised criminals to subvert and bypass our countermeasures.

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