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Armley Prison

Volume 202: debated on Tuesday 21 January 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations have been made to him over the past year about staffing levels at Her Majesty's prison, Armley; and what concern has been expressed about the number of staff available to search visitors with hand-held metal-detecting equipment.

Staffing levels at Her Majesty's prison, Leeds, were the subject of discussions between management and the local branch of the Prison Officers Association in July 1991 and new target staffing figures have been agreed. The availability of staff for searching is an area which has been identified for further review. Leeds is one of the prisons holding category A inmates for which the Home Secretary has agreed X-ray machines and walk-through metal detectors should be provided. An order has been placed for the equipment and Leeds should receive it in the next few weeks. Hand-held metal detectors are available for use by staff in the visits area and are used where warranted by the circumstances.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when hand-held metal-detecting equipment for searching visitors was first made available at Her Majesty's prison, Armley; and on how many days since then the equipment has not been used to search visitors because of insufficient staff.

The date when hand-held metal detectors were first issued to Her Majesty's prison, Armley is not readily available but was prior to October 1986.The equipment is used to screen-selected visitors including those to prisoners considered to present a high risk to security. There is no record of detectors not being used because of a shortage of staff.