X-ray body scanners prevent more than 10,000 attempts to smuggle contraband into prisons

X-ray body scanners have prevented more than 10,000 attempts to smuggle contraband – including weapons, drugs and phones – into prisons in just over a year.

The government introduced the equipment in men’s prisons in England and Wales in 2020.

The 74 scanners allow prison staff to check whether inmates are hiding anything inside their bodies and have detected drugs including spice and morphine that were destined for prison wings.

The Ministry of Justice said 10,611 positive scans showing contraband have taken place since the technology was installed in June last year.

Scans are only conducted on prisoners where there is reasonable intelligence they are internally concealing contraband and there are no other means of detecting it. More than 92,000 scans took place.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said: “Drugs and weapons wreak havoc behind bars and stop frontline staff from doing their crucial work to rehabilitate offenders and cut crime.

“Our new scanners help us keep out dangerous and illegal items from prison, that means our staff can create a better environment to get offenders off drugs and into work – which is the key to reducing reoffending.”

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