Essex News & Investigation Service

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New heat-seeking mobile phone detectors to be used in prisons

April 25, 2019

PLEDGE: David Gauke says the technology will help find illegal phones in prisons (David Gauke/Twitter) 

HEAT-seeking mobile phone detectors are being brought into prisons in a bid to crack down on criminals carrying on from their prison cells.

Justice Secretary David Gauke has announced the new technology.

The Government wants to stop convicts from continuing to deal drugs and run other crime empires from their cells. 

Following a successful six-month trial of the latest technology in one prison, the technology is now in use in five across the country.

Illicit use of phones in prisons to co-ordinate crime fuels high levels of violence as offenders vie for control of the internal market and enforce drug debts. 

The equipment works by sending real-time alerts when a mobile is detected in prison, shown on a digital heat map which identifies the strength of the signal, down to the exact cell.

INSIDE: Criminals have continued to run drugs empires from their cells (Wikipedia)

Staff can also track data over time to watch for patterns emerging, for example when inmates conspire to smuggle drugs into prison. 

Justice Secretary David Gauke said: “As criminals look for new ways to smuggle contraband into prisons, it is vital that we stay one step ahead, and this kind of technology will help prevent them operating from their cells.

“This is vital to ensuring prisons are places of safety and rehabilitation, where offenders can turn their backs on crime for good.”

The technology is part of a wider multi-million-pound strategy to restore stability to prisons, with other measures including security scanners, improved searching techniques, phone-blocking technology and a financial crime unit to target the criminal kingpins operating in prisons.

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