The prison service for England and Wales has formed a squad of prison and police officers to tackle the threat drones pose to prison security, the UK Government’s Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah said. The team of investigators will work with national law enforcement agencies and HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) to inspect drones that have been recovered from prisons in a bid to identify and track down those involved in attempts to smuggle in contraband.
“We are absolutely determined to tackle the illegal flow of drugs and mobile phones into our prisons and turn them into places of safety and reform,” said Gyimah. “The threat posed by drones is clear, but our dedicated staff are committed to winning the fight against those who are attempting to thwart progress by wreaking havoc in establishments all over the country.”
The announcement comes after the longest sentence of its type was handed down on 31 March; two men were jailed for six years and six months and four years and four months respectively for attempting to flood prisons across Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Kent with contraband worth around £48,000. A joint operation between police and prison officers led to the arrest of Remo White-Channer and Romaine Gayle. They used drones to fly packages containing cannabis, synthetic cannabis and heroin, as well as phones into three different prisons.
In December, Dean Rawley-Bell, 21, was jailed for four years and eight months after he used a drone in attempts to smuggle drugs and mobile phones into HMP Manchester. In October, drug dealer Renelle Carlisle, 23, was jailed for three years and four months after he was caught outside HMP Risley in Warrington with a drone in his bag, trying to smuggle drugs inside. And in July, 37-year-old Daniel Kelly was jailed for 14 months for trying to supply offenders at HMP Elmley and Swaleside in Sheppey, HMP Wandsworth in London and HMP The Mount in Hemel Hempstead with contraband.