New X-ray at HMP Preston to scan for drugs, weapons and mobile phones smuggled into jail

Prison officers at HMP Preston will now be able to tell if drugs, weapons and mobile phones are being smuggled into jail.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 6:00 am
The images produced by the scanner provide a level of detail inside the body that has not been seen before in the Prison Service.

It is to be one of among 16 of the most challenging prisons to have new X-ray body scanners which will produce instant images from inside the human body and can reveal internally concealed contraband.

The introduction of the new security measure is a major part of the Government’s crackdown on crime behind bars.

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.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Prison officers at HMP Preston will now be able to tell if drugs, weapons and mobile phones are being smuggled into jail.

"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.”

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.

Government says that 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 Group Director for Cumbria & Lancashire, John Illingsworth welcomed the measures.

“This is excellent news,” he said. “Prison staff face major challenges in preventing drugs, weapons and mobile phones entering jails and this technology will make a real difference.”

The installation at HMP Preston 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.