Crime Reduction

28.10.19

Cutting edge digital forensic unit is set to crack down on criminal activity in prisons

Newly developed digital forensics unit and expanded digital investigations team will crack down on criminal activity involving devices smuggled into jails, Prisons Minster, Lucy Frazer QC MP announced today.

More than 20, 000 mobile devices and SIM cards are seized in prisons each year. The total of smartphones seized is also rising, with 1 in 3 phones examined by the Prison Service now having these capabilities.

The state-of-the-art lab will be equipped with fresh technology to analyse the growing number of mobile phones seized in prisons.

With heightened security leading to a rise in contraband seizures, there is growing evidence that prisoners are using advanced technology to access the dark web, encrypt their messages and use social media in jail.  

The unit will investigate offenders carrying out illegal communications to further their criminal operations from inside prison walls.

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 crackdown on violence, self-harm and crime within prisons.

The specialist digital forensics team is being funded from the government’s previously announced £2.75 billion package to transform the prison estate.

Prisons Minster, Lucy Frazer QC MP said: “We know that the ways in which criminals conduct their business is 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 crime and wreak havoc in our jails.”

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