New X-ray scanners at Norwich Prison to crack down on jail smugglers

State-of-the-art body scanners are being installed at Norwich prison in a bid to crackdown on contra

State-of-the-art body scanners are being installed at Norwich prison in a bid to crackdown on contraband being smuggled into the jail. Picture: Ministry of Justice - Credit: Archant

Game-changing new scanners designed to pick up whether inmates are smuggling weapons, phones or drugs into prison are being brought in at a jail in Norwich, it has emerged.

Norwich Prison. Photo : Steve Adams

Norwich Prison. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Norwich Prison is among 10 jails to have received the innovative advanced X-ray body scanners which have been developed specifically with the prison service in mind and which allow staff to see instantly whether prisoners are smuggling in illegal contraband, including drugs, weapons and phones.

The installation of the scanners, which produce better quality images making it easier to detect contraband, comes as part of the government’s bold £100 million package to boost security.

The technology is being installed at jails with high volumes of remand prisoners – posing the greatest risk of smuggling.

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A prisoner on a landing at Norwich Prison. Photo: Bill Smith.

A prisoner on a landing at Norwich Prison. Photo: Bill Smith. - Credit: Archant © 2009

Findings from the Independent Monitoring Board’s (IMB) 2020 annual report of Norwich Prison found “despite persistent efforts to disrupt the supply of illicit drugs the incidents of drug use continue”, adding that “finds and intercepts of illicit items are frequent and there are fruitful intelligence-led searches, but drugs are ubiquitous”.

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The investment, which is being funded as part of the government’s £2.75 billion commitment to transform the prison estate, will also 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.

Lucy Frazer, Prisons and Probation Minister, said: “This new technology at Norwich a vital part of our efforts to stem the flow of contraband into jails and allow officers to focus on rehabilitation.

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“The scanners form part of our wider efforts to transform our prisons, creating 10,000 additional modern places and stepping up security to cut crime and ultimately better protect the public.”

As previously reported, Isabel Samson, 31, was jailed for eight months after she was caught going through security at Norwich Prison with four phones and four SIM cards hidden on her.

Samson, from Ipswich, was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court in September 2019 after she admitted trying to smuggle prohibited items into prison on June 27 last year.

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