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Prisons: Unmanned Air Vehicles

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 20357, tabled on 16 December 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many incidents his Department has recorded of drones operating over prison estates in the last year for which figures are available; what steps his Department took following each such incident; and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

5 January 2016

If an incident involving a drone occurs, prisons will invoke appropriate contingency plans and will work alongside the police and CPS to ensure those responsible are caught. NOMS are exploring research options with the Home Office Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) on detection and mitigation technology for drones.


There were 30 reported drone related incidents between 1 December 2014 and 30 November 2015. This includes drone finds and drone sightings by prison staff in and around public and private prisons in England and Wales.


Individual prisons will invoke the appropriate contingency plan relevant to the circumstances of the incident involving a drone. This includes, for example, working with the police and CPS to ensure those responsible for an incident involving a drone are caught and, if appropriate, prosecuted.


These figures have been drawn from live administrative data systems. Care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, but the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.

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