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Prisons: Mobile Phones

Volume 506: debated on Thursday 4 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated research into the means by which illicit mobile phones are brought into prisons. (320096)

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) has not commissioned specific research into the means by which illicit mobile phones are brought into prisons. However, phones enter prisons by the same routes as other contraband: visitors; over the wall; post and parcels; reception; and remand prisoners and staff.

David Blakey CBE QPM DL, formerly Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary and Chief Constable of West Mercia, was commissioned by the Director General of NOMS, at the Justice Secretary’s request, with undertaking a review of the effectiveness of HM Prison Service’s measures for disrupting the supply of illicit drugs in prisons.

Mr. Blakey confirmed the five main routes for illicit drugs to get into prisons, and noted that the use of each route and the traffic flowing along it will alter from time to time and from place to place. He recognised the link between the availability of phones in prisons and the smuggling of illicit drugs. NOMS is determined to address the risks that mobile phones present to security and to the safety of the public. Our strategy is to: minimise the number of mobile phones entering prisons; find mobile phones that are smuggled into prisons; and disrupt mobile phones that we cannot find.