asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will give a general instruction that the particular method of searching female visitors to Crumlin Road Prison, Belfast, described in correspondence between the Minister of State and the hon. Member for Coventry, South-West, should be desisted from in the light of the close observation kept on prisoners and visitors during visits, the fact that prisoners themselves are searched, and the peculiar difficulty a female visitor would have in secretly conveying to a prisoner any unauthorised material in the manner apparently envisaged taking into account the two aforemented factors:(2) on how many occasions the particular method of searching female visitors to Crumlin Road Prison, Belfast, described by the Minister of State in correspondence with the hon. Member for Coventry, South-West, has actually revealed unauthorised material being carried into the prison by the means implied in the feature of the search about which the hon. Member for Coventry, South-West has protested.
No detailed records arc kept, but there have been numerous attempts to introduce such items as tablets and alcohol into the prisons in Northern Ireland in the manner referred to. Experience elsewhere has shown that there is always a risk of explosives being introduced in this way. While it may be sometimes embarrassing both for female visitors and for staff to conduct close searching, I consider that in the present circumstances it would be dangerous to contemplate any relaxation of our vigilance.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Coventry, South-West on Friday 28th July, if he will now answer the question tabled for priority Written Answer on that date in view of the fact that full information on this matter is in his possession as shown by his letter of Thursday 27th July to the hon. Member for Coventry, South-West.
I answered my hon. Friend's Question yesterday.