MSPs back move to block mo­bile phones in pris­ons

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - NEWS -

More than 1,500 mo­bile phones or com­po­nent parts have been found be­hind bars in the last four years, Jus­tice Sec­re­tary Michael Math­e­son said.

He re­vealed the num­ber as he urged MSPs to back reg­u­la­tions al­low­ing pris- ons chiefs to have il­licit mo­bile phones blocked by ser­vice providers.

Holy­rood’s jus­tice com­mit­tee agreed the reg­u­la­tions af­ter Mr Math­e­son said the changes would make pris­ons safer and to com­bat or­gan­ised crime.

He said: “Let me be clear, the unau­tho­rised use of mo­bile phones in prison presents a range of se­ri­ous risks to the se­cu­rity of pris­ons and to the safety of the pub­lic.

“They can be used to plan es­cape or in­dis­ci­pline, or to con­duct se­ri­ous or­gan­ised crime, in­clud­ing drug im­ports and se­ri­ous vi­o­lence from be­hind bars.”

But he said the reg­u­la­tions would “sup­port our com­mit­ment to re­duc­ing the harm caused by se­ri­ous or­gan­ised crime”.

Mr Math­e­son said the changes would al­low the Scottish Prison Ser­vice to get a court or­der that would mean a mo­bile phone be­ing used be­hind bars would be blocked from the net­work mak­ing it “use­less”.

He con­ceded the reg­u­la­tions will not stop all mo­bile phones that are used in Scot­land’s jails.

Pris­on­ers are us­ing mo­bile phones to or­gan­ise crime

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