UK deploys phone detection kits in prisons to crack down on illegal phones

phone detection kitsImage: Ministry of Justice announces use of phone detection kits in prisons. Photo: courtesy of Andrew Dunn/

The UK has introduced phone detection kits in prisons that are equipped with specialist technology for detecting and seizing illegal phones used by prisoners.

The new mobile detection technology will give prison officers the capabilities to find out the exact cell from where the mobile phone signal is coming.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said that the newly introduced phone detection kits are part of broader efforts from the government to curb violence and drug use, and at the same time restore stability to the prison estate.

Furthermore, the mobile detection technology is the latest weapon in the government’s fight against phone smuggling which it says results in potential drug-dealing and violence inside the prison.

The new phone detection kits function by dispatching real-time alerts whenever a mobile is detected in prison. The activated mobile signal is shown on a digital heat map which identifies its strength, thereby helping prison officers in pinpointing the location of the phone at the cell level.

Through the phone detection kits, prison staff can also monitor data over time to observe patterns emerging, for instance, when inmates are planning to smuggle drugs into prison. The intelligence is analysed and will help the law enforcement partners to make arrests, said the Ministry of Justice.

The phone detection kits, which have been successfully trialled for six months in a particular prison, are now being used in five prisons across the UK.

The Ministry of Justice said that mobile detection technology is part of a larger multi-million-pound strategy for restoring stability to prisons. Other steps include security scanners, phone-blocking technology, enhanced searching techniques, and a financial crime unit to crack down on the criminal kingpins in prisons.

Justice Secretary David Gauke said: “As criminals look for new ways to smuggle contraband into prisons, it is vital that we stay one step ahead, and this kind of technology will help prevent them operating from their cells.

“This is vital to ensuring prisons are places of safety and rehabilitation, where offenders can turn their backs on crime for good.”

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