X-ray body scanners to be introduced in Northern Ireland prisons

X-ray body scanners to be introduced in Northern Ireland prisons

Pictured (left–right): Maghaberry governor Dave Savage with NI Prison Service director-general Ronnie Armour

New X-ray body scanners are set to be introduced in Northern Ireland prisons to tackle the trafficking of illegal contraband including drugs.

The scanners are similar to those which have already been introduced in England, Wales and Scotland, the Northern Ireland Prison Service said.

They were rolled out in Maghaberry Prison yesterday and will be introduced in Hydebank and Magilligan later this month.

Ronnie Armour, director-general of the NI Prison Service, said: “Some people in our prisons are determined to traffic contraband into our establishments, however we are equally determined to stop them. Our fight against illegal trafficking has taken a huge step forward with the introduction of X-Ray body scanners into Maghaberry, Magilligan and Hydebank.

“This technology should be seen as a deterrent to those who wish to use their bodies to bring in drugs and other illegal items into our prisons. This really has the potential to be a game changer in our efforts to thwart their efforts; it will assist in the detection and prosecution of offenders; and as a result will make our prisons safer for our staff, partner agencies and the people in our care.

“The introduction of this technology is a key recommendation from the Criminal Justice Inspector and demonstrates our determination to makes our prisons as safe as we can to facilitate our focus on rehabilitation as we challenge and support those in our care to change their behaviours.”

David Savage, governor of Maghaberry Prison, added: “This technology was initially piloted in prisons in England and has recently been introduced in Scotland.

“Last year over one in 10 scans in England and Wales highlighted the presence of contraband. Experience elsewhere indicates that this technology will greatly assist prison officers in controlling the flow of drugs in our prisons.”

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