‘It’s an epidemic’: Phones, drugs & drones in UK prisons – Tories ‘buying magic wands’ to fix it
Live-streaming himself smoking a joint inside Wandsworth Prison in London, the convicted drug dealer reveals just how flawed the system is.
Getting a mobile phone into prison – easy.
Prisoners (‘lags’) have been running rings around the UK justice system with drugs and takeaways being delivered on drones; lags taking part in internet Q&As live-streamed from their cells and crime gangs operating from inside jails.
Earlier this week, RT revealed how prisoners are filming themselves playing Playstations right under the noses of prison staff.
However, officers are so short staffed as the Tory axe falls on public servants that the situation has become “critical”.
Business is booming inside prisons as lags give orders for crimes on the outside, organise the sale of drugs and make rap videos – all using smuggled mobile phones.
But the Tories have a master plan to fix it – which involves mobile-phone-detecting wands.
Assistant General Secretary of the Prison Officers Association, Glynn Travis, told RT UK there is now one phone in UK jails for every eight prisoners.
The union chief described the situation as an “epidemic” as he claimed the devices have a direct impact on attacks on prison staff.
“Mobile phones in prison create real problems for staff,” Travis said.
“Mobile phones help organised crime inside prison, they help get drugs into prison and attacks on officers happen as a result.”
However, figures released by the Government in July revealed 13,000 phones and 7,000 sim cards were found in one year under their new detection programme.
The prison population in the UK is currently 85,000, making the number of prisoners having access to a phone significantly higher than originally feared.
The Government has come up with an ingenious plan to stop prisoners using mobile phones in jail – well, they think so. The Tories are going to stamp it out with legislation.
Laws will be introduced to end the use of mobile phones by inmates, the Ministry of Justice has insisted.
The Government will push through legislation to force phone companies to block illegal prison phones.
And if that doesn’t work – they are also buying phone detecting wands.
A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman, when confronted with the shocking footage from inside Wandsworth Prison, said the Government is acting.
“This behaviour is completely unacceptable and we are taking immediate action,” A Prison Service spokesperson said.
“We are clear that those who break the rules will be punished and can face extra time behind bars.
“We are taking decisive action to find and block mobile phones in prison, including a £2million investment in detection wands and legislation to block mobile phone signals.”
The £2m investment package was announced in July and includes plans for 2,500 extra prison officers, but it does not set out plans for signal blockers.
Mr Travis called on the Tories to bring in the multi-million pound equipment, which he says is proven to have worked in other countries.
“Investment in mobile phone signal blockers is ten years overdue,” Travis said.
“This is a chronic problem so we would welcome investment to stop the epidemic. We have been arguing for this.”
Travis said the Government has always fallen short of its promise to introduce blockers because of “cost” problems.
In 2013, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) said phones cost between £400 and £1,000 in jail and have been used to "commission murder, plan escapes, import automatic firearms and arrange drug imports".
Two years later, in 2015, the Serious Crime Act introduced the possibility of regulations giving the government - and ministers in Scotland - the power to force mobile phone operators to disconnect illicit phones and SIM cards.
The regulations are yet to be enacted.