The BBC NI home affairs correspondent Vincent Kearney seems to have gotten hold of a prison service evaluation report of the three month trial of electronic body scanners at Magilligan prison and Hydebank Wood – as a suggested alternative to full-body searches. The Assembly’s Justice Committee is due to discuss the report tomorrow [Thursday]. From the BBC report
Items not detected included drugs, mobile phone batteries, scissors and a knife.
Nearly 1200 prisoners and prison staff were searched using two millimetre wave scanners.
The searches took place at Magilligan prison and Hydebank Wood.
Dissident republicans in the high security prison at Maghaberry, near Lisburn, County Antrim, have been campaigning to have the scanners installed there as an alternative to strip-searching
But any move to introduce the technology is expected to be put on hold due to the results of the pilot scheme, which was introduced by justice minister David Ford.
A prison service evaluation report says the scanners detected just 57% of test items. The items not detected include a knife and scissors.
NI Justice Minister David Ford had welcomed the announcement of the three month trial as “another significant step forward within the prison reform agenda”.