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Prisons: Unmanned Air Vehicles

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 46968, tabled on 7 October 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many drones have been intercepted operating over prisons in England and Wales (a) in 2015 and (b) from January 2016 to date.

Answered on

12 October 2016

There were 33 incidents relating to drones reported by prisons in 2015. This includes finds, interceptions and sightings of drones in and around prisons in England and Wales. The Ministry of Justice intends to routinely publish information on prison drone incidents in the future and 2016 data will be provided in due course as part of the publication schedule.

We remain vigilant to all incidents involving drones and take the threat they pose to prison security very seriously. A range of methods to counter the threat posed by drones are being trialled and evaluated for their effectiveness across the prison estate. We have already introduced new legislation to further strengthen our powers, making it illegal to land a drone in prison or to use a drone to drop in contraband. Anyone found using a drone in an attempt to get contraband into prisons can be punished with a sentence of up to two years imprisonment. We take a zero tolerance approach to smuggling of contraband into prisons and work closely with the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to ensure those caught are prosecuted.

Note: All 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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