The Government has announced the launch of a new digital forensics unit and investigations team that will crackdown on criminal activity involving devices that have been smuggled into jails.
Following a rise in contraband seizures, there is evidence that a growing number of prisoners are using advanced technology to access the dark web, encrypt their messages and use social media in jail.
More than 20,000 mobile devices and SIM cards are seized in prisons each year, a figure which is prompting the Government to take action to crack down on criminal activity in jails.
The new unit is part of the Government’s £100 million investment in prison security, with tough airport-style security and phone-blocking technology to clamp down on violence, self-harm and crime behind bars.
Staffed by digital experts the unit will operate from a new state-of-the-art lab equipped with cutting-edge technology to analyse the growing number of mobile phones seized in prisons and investigate offenders carrying out illicit communications to further their criminal operations from inside prison walls.
Prisons Minister, Lucy Frazer QC MP said: “We know that the methods in which criminals conduct their business are advancing – with prisoners harnessing new technology and the dark web to further their operations behind bars.
“Bolstering our powers to detect and disrupt this kind of crime is a key element of our £100 million investment in prison security. Alongside airport-style scanners, metal detectors and phone blockers, we will crack down on those who continue to commit crimes and wreak havoc in our jails.”