My honourable friend the Minister of State (Maria Eagle) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
I am making this Statement to update the House of the progress we have made in implementing the Blakey report Disrupting the Supply of Illicit Drugs into Prisons which was published in July 2008.
David Blakey CBE QPM DL, a former Inspector of Constabulary and Chief Constable of West Mercia, was commissioned to conduct a review into the effectiveness of the Prison Service's measures for disrupting the supply of drugs into prisons, and to make recommendations for improvements. The Blakey report made 10 recommendations, all of which were accepted by the Government.
Over the past 12 months we have made significant progress in implementing all the recommendations:
we have equipped all prisons with a body orifice security scanner (BOSS chair) to detect internally concealed items such as mobile phones. The rollout was completed in May and the chairs are now in use across the estate;
we have also equipped all prisons with portable high-sensitivity metal-detecting wands. These were also rolled out in May;
we are seeking to make full use of the Offender Management Act to prosecute those caught attempting to bring drugs and mobile phones into prisons, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment;
every prison now has a nominated senior manager in post who is responsible for delivering its local drug strategy; and
we have published a new good practice guide to assist prisons in tackling drug supply routes, including advice on working with others. We will shortly be publishing a mobile phones good practice guide to focus on minimising, finding and disrupting mobile phones that are smuggled into prisons.
In addition, work continues to strengthen prison intelligence gathering, and to trial and roll out mobile phone blockers, in line with David Blakey’s recommendations.
Tackling the supply of drugs and mobile phones into prisons requires a multi-agency response, and we are working closely with the police and other key partners. I would also like to pay tribute to the continuing hard work of staff to reduce the supply and impact of drugs and phones.