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HMP Chelmsford

Volume 616: debated on Tuesday 1 November 2016

3. What steps she is taking to tackle bullying and drug abuse at HMP Chelmsford; and if she will make a statement. (906939)

I share my right hon. Friend’s concerns about what has happened at HMP Chelmsford. I can confirm that it is one of the 10 prisons for which we are training up additional officers. This will provide a 30% increase in officer numbers to help tackle the scourges of bullying and drug abuse.

I welcome that answer. It is crucial that more is done to eliminate bullying in the prison. On drug abuse, can the Secretary of State confirm whether sniffer dogs are being used on a regular basis on not only the prison inmates but all types of people entering and leaving prison?

I can confirm that that is happening. We have trained 300 sniffer dogs to be able to detect new dangerous psychoactive substances, and that testing was being rolled out across the prison estate in September. [Interruption.]

Order. I say very gently to the hon. Member for Dumfries and Galloway (Richard Arkless) that I am sure his constituency has many magnificent merits but it is a long way from Chelmsford.