17/08/2018 08:02 BST

Sniffer Dogs And Body Scanners To Target Prison Drugs And Mobile Phones In £10m Initiative

Scheme rolled out at 10 of England's 'most challenging' prisons.

Anna Gowthorpe - PA Images via Getty Images

New body scanners and sniffer dogs will be introduced in 10 of England’s “most challenging” prisons in a £10 million project to combat drugs and mobile phones.

The prisons where the initiative is being rolled out are described as having “acute problems, including high drug use, violence and building issues”, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said on Friday.  

They are Hull, Humber, Leeds, Lindholme, Moorland, Wealstun, Nottingham, Ranby, Isis and Wormwood Scrubs.

Prisons located in clusters have been selected as part of a targeted approach against the supply of drugs in those areas, the MoJ said.  

The project will also see perimeter fences improved, while residential areas in the prisons will be standardised to meet new decency and cleanliness standards.

The sniffer dogs involved will have been trained to detect new psychoactive substances, such as Spice, and the body scanners will be capable of detecting packages inside the body.

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said: “With more than 20,000 prison officers, 84,000 prisoners, and over 100 prisons, it is vital we set challenging standards so prisons are places where offenders can turn their lives around.

“With the right leadership on the ground, and support from the centre, these 10 prisons will pave the way for a new approach, a new ethos and a new direction.

“We need to make these prisons calmer, more orderly places and in the end that comes down to challenging and managing prisoners consistently, firmly and fairly. And we will put our support and training behind our prison officers to make that happen.

“No-one can hope to change an entire system overnight. But through these vital improvements to 10 prisons, we can set a course for the rest of the estate to follow – leading us to a system that truly rehabilitates, cuts reoffending and ultimately keeps the public safer.”

Of the £10m, £1m has been set aside for bespoke staff training programmes and a staff college model based on the military will be developed.

The project is described as a bid to “develop a new model of excellence” for UK prisons.

The money comes in addition to the £30 million investment announced by the Justice Secretary in July.