Contraband-Detecting scanners, Each Costing £100k, “Now Being Rolled Out Across Prison Estate”, Says Minister

Full body scanners to detect drugs and other objects concealed inside prisoners are being rolled out across jails, a justice minister has said.

Rory Stewart described millimetre wave scanners as the “technological future” as he told MPs they will be piloted in 10 prisons.

He made the comments after being asked about drugs hidden in prisoners’ bodies when they leave one prison for another.

Labour’s Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) said: “I appreciate there are major issues around funding prisons and keeping staff and prisoners safe.

“The minister wrote to me about drug scanners in Holme House prison in Stockton North but didn’t address the issue of one to detect drugs concealed in prisoners’ bodies when they leave one prison for another.

“Will we get one soon or isn’t there enough money?”

Mr Stewart said there were two different types of scanner: “There’s a straightforward X-ray scanner which will generally pick up on bits of metal and things outside your body.

“And then there’ll be a millimetre wave scanner which is able in certain of our prisons to detect objects inside the body.”

He continued: “These are expensive pieces of kit, in certain cases they can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

“We are now beginning to roll them out across the estate.

“I absolutely agree that that is the technological future and we will be piloting them in 10 prisons to see that they do what we both believe they should do.”