Yorkshire jail to get airport-style security to crackdown on smuggling of drugs, phones and weapons

A YORKSHIRE jail will be among the first to receive tough airport-style security to tackle the flow of drugs, phones and weapons being smuggled behind bars.

Aerial view of Armley Jail. Picture: James Hardisty

Leeds Prison – known as Armley – is one of the first seven across England and Wales selected to receive the new equipment as part of the Government’s £100m investment to bolster security in prisons.

X-ray baggage scanners and metal detectors, will step up searching of visitors and staff on entry to Leeds, enforced by specially trained officers.

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It is part of a wider package of investment including X-ray body scanners for offenders and drug detection equipment to identify and deter attempts to smuggle narcotics, such as Spice, through prisoner mail.

The chosen prisons have been prioritised as they face significant security challenges and the new measures – set to be in place by spring 2020 – will make a significant difference to the stability of each jail.

Prisons Minister, Lucy Frazer said: “The gate and reception are key areas of vulnerability to smuggling and more robust searching of staff, visitors and prisoners will help reduce the flow of drugs, phones and weapons.

“This game-changing package of equipment is part of the Government’s new £2.75bn investment to modernise and maintain our prisons, create 10,000 additional places, and crack down on crime behind bars.”

Alongside security at the prison gate and reception, the investment includes a new digital forensics facility, expanded digital investigations team and phone-blocking technology to clampdown on the organised crime behind bars.