Prisoners should have their mobile phones jammed, says Mole Valley MP
PRISONERS could be prevented from using mobile phones in jail under new plans put forward by Mole Valley's MP.
Sir Paul Beresford has proposed a Private Members' Bill which would allow prison officials to use "jammers" – which are currently illegal – to block mobile phone signals.
Speaking to the Advertiser on Tuesday ahead of the bill's second reading in Parliament next week, Sir Paul said the scheme would stop criminals in jail carrying out some illegal activities.
"Prison officials spend a lot of time taking mobile phones that are used by prisoners for all sorts of things, including running their businesses and moving drugs about," he said.
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"The blocker blocks the radio waves going to and from the prisoners' phones, but they are currently illegal.
"This will make it legal for prisons and such institutions to use that technology to track where the phone messages are going, but also to block any of the phones in the institution.
"It will stop the prisoners working on the inside and will enable the police and prison authorities to track who they are working with inside and outside."
Sir Paul said he was inspired to pursue the bill while he was on a train journey.
"I was sitting on the train on the way home and several people were making pointless and annoying calls in loud voices," he said.
"Things like 'hi mum, I'm on the train, I was on the same train yesterday, what's for dinner?'
"These calls were driving a number of us up the wall and a guy got this little thing out and flicked a switch and stopped all the conversations. It is illegal but it was very funny."
Sir Paul, who will present his plans to fellow MPs on June 6, said he believes the bill is likely to be passed by Parliament.
"Prisoners smuggle phones in and the prison authorities have to search for them, and it occurred to me that this was just too silly," he said.
"Why spend all your time searching for them when you can flick a switch and stop them?
"There are some fairly well-known vicious criminals who are in prison but still running their criminal gangs on the outside."