New legislation will be introduced to cut off mobile phones being used in prisons.

Operators will be compelled to block telephones and SIM cards by courts if they are being used in custody.

The plan is due to be voted on by Members of Parliament (January 5).

A statement from the Ministry of Justice said that some criminals using phones behind bars have been continuing to carry out illegal activity.

In 2013 a total of 7,451 phones were seized inside prisons in England and Wales.

The new legislation is intended to take advantage of cutting-edge detection equipment that will allow prisons to identify unauthorised mobile phones and SIM cards being used.

Prisons Minister Andrew Selous said: “We will never tolerate the use of mobile phones in prisons and will continue to clamp down on their illicit use.

“Our range of tough security measures has already successfully seen the number of seizures increase, but this proposed new legislation will significantly increase our ability to tackle this problem.

“By ordering a phone to be cut off once it is identified, we will be able to reassure victims and prevent further criminal activity faster and wider than ever before.”

Prisons do already use a range of searching and security measures to detect items of contraband with searches, body searches, use of x-ray machines, metal detectors and CCTV cameras, as well as body orifice scanners – but the government says it wants to do more.

Being caught with a phone inside a prison can result in a penalty of an extra two years behind bars.

 

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