- £28 million on ‘game-changing’ advanced X-ray technology in prisons
- Birmingham, Liverpool and Winchester among first 16 jails to benefit
- Part of the government’s £100 million package to tackle violence and drugs
Innovative new X-ray body scanners, developed specifically for the Prison Service, will produce instant images from inside the human body and can reveal internally concealed contraband, including drugs, mobile phones and weapons.
The cutting-edge technology will be installed first at 16 local jails with high volumes of remand prisoners – posing the greatest risk of smuggling. The £28 million that will pay for X-ray scanners across the estate is being funded from the government’s bold £100 million package to boost security.
The investment will fund new measures to tackle drugs and violence in prisons, including X-ray baggage scanners and metal-detection equipment, phone-blocking technology and a new digital forensics facility.
Prisons and Probation Minister, Lucy Frazer QC MP said:
New technology is a vital part of our efforts to stop those determined to wreak havoc in our jails. These scanners will help to stem the flow of contraband into jails and allow officers to focus on rehabilitation.
We’re investing £2.75 billion to transform our prisons, creating 10,000 additional modern places, and stepping up security to cut crime and better protect the public.
HMP Leeds Governor Steve Robson, which already has an X-ray scanner, said:
The scanner has been a real game changer. In the year it has been in operation, it has found over 300 items of contraband, with prisoners finding drugs harder to come by at Leeds.
The first wave of jails has been prioritised after careful consideration and this will boost security where remand prisoners are received from courts. The use of X-ray body scanners at 10 other challenging prisons – as part of the ’10 Prisons Project’ - was successful in detecting contraband and contributed to a significant reduction in violence and drug use.
The installation at the 16 prisons will begin in Spring 2020, with all scanners expected to be in place by the Summer. The technology is set to be introduced in other prisons across the estate later this year.
The images produced by the scanner provide a level of detail inside the body that has not been seen before in the Prison Service.
The equipment is being funded by the government’s £2.75 billion commitment to transform the prison estate. This includes:
- £100 million to bolster prison security, clamping down on the weapons, drugs and mobile phones that fuel violence, self-harm and crime behind bars
- £2.5 billion to provide 10,000 additional prison places and create modern, efficient jails that rehabilitate offenders, reduce reoffending and keep the public safe
- £156 million to tackle the most pressing maintenance issues to create safe and decent conditions for offender rehabilitation.
Notes to editors
- The prisons receiving scanners are HMP Exeter, Durham, Preston, Liverpool, Birmingham, Hewell, Lincoln, Bedford, Norwich, Chelmsford, Winchester, Elmley, Pentonville, Wandsworth, Bristol and Cardiff.
- Adani Limited has been awarded a multi-year contract for the supply, installation and support of the X-ray body scanners.