Prime Minister Boris Johnson has paid tribute to the prison officers at HMP Leeds, calling them the ‘unsung heroes’ of the criminal justice system.
During a visit to HMP Leeds, in Armley, Mr Johnson said that £100m would be made available to improve scanning and security arrangements in Britain’s jails.
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He said he wanted a prison system that was fit to cope with an anticipated increase in the arrest and conviction of offenders following the introduction of tens of thousands of additional police officers under his administration.
The Prime Minister said there was too much violence, drug use and ‘gangsterism’ in Britain’s prison system and that they way to tackle this was improved security in and around prisons.
However Mr Johnson denied the move was a tactic designed to curry favour with voters ahead of a potential General Election during the Autumn but rather creating a more modern and effective criminal justice system.
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Mr Johnson said: “What we are doing is that we are cracking down on crime in all sorts of ways, and that is what you would expect us to do.
“My job is to make sure that yours and everybody’s streets are safer.
“That is why we need 20,000 additional police officers out on the streets. But there is no point in asking the police to arrest more people, to tackle serious and violent crime if they have nowhere to put those people in jail.
“We are going to have thousands more places for people convicted of serious violent crime and sexual offences.
“But I don’t want to have jails just to be factories that make bad people worse.
“There is too much violence in our prisons, there is too much of a culture of drugs and too much gangsterism. But the way to tackle it is to have better screening and that when people are coming into jails they are not concealing drugs or mobiles in their alimentary canal, not to put to fine a point on it.
“And there are ways of doing this. We are putting money into this.
“I have just talked both to prison officers and inmates here and the violence is coming down and the use of drugs use is coming down here.
“I want to pay tribute to the prison officers here and what they do. They are the unsung heroes of our criminal justice system.”