Lewes MP's delight: Powers to block phones in prisons a step closer

Lewes MP Maria Caulfield's Bill to give powers to block mobile phone signals in prisons moved a step closer to becoming law as it passed its Second Reading in the House of Lords.

Tuesday, 30th October 2018, 1:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th October 2018, 2:25 pm
Lewes MP Maria Caulfield in the House of Commons

The Prisons (Interference with Wireless Telegraphy) Bill, which was guided through the House of Commons by Ms Caulfield, is being led on in the Lords by Conservative Peer Baroness Pidding.

The Bill would give mobile phone companies the powers to block mobile phone signals on prison estates to stop convicted criminals being able to use illegal devices to contact their criminal networks on the outside or intimidate victims of their crimes.

Being in possession of a mobile phone in prison is already illegal and carries a possible two-year prison sentence, but with thousands of deliveries and visitors coming and going through prisons each day it is incredibly difficult to find all of them.

Last year 23,565 mobile phone and sim cards were found in prisons in England and Wales – that is almost 65 a day. The new powers would render a mobile phone useless within the walls of all prisons in England.

Ms Caulfield said: “I am grateful to Baroness Pidding for seeing my Bill through its Second Reading in the House of Lords. There are still a few hurdles left to get over in the House of Lords before this becomes law but as we heard during Second Reading the Bill has both Government and Labour supporting it. I am confident that The Prisons (Interference with Wireless Telegraphy) Bill will soon become law and our prisons will be a safer place for both staff and prisoners.”