A recent trend in the UK has seen inmates using remote-controlled drones to smuggle contraband into the country’s prisons.
Rise in Prison Drones Forces Government Response
The trend has been gaining ground, with a growing number of reported sightings or detection of drones in and around prison grounds. In 2015, there were 33 recorded instances of drones spotted in the vicinity of UK prisons.
This is a noteworthy increase from 2014, when only 2 such incidences were reported all year. UK’s Ministry of Justice commented on the situation, confirming that the 1-year increase was significant by their standards.
It seems to be significant enough to do something about it because now the UK has formed a special task force to deal with the problem. The task force will be comprised of police officers as well as prison officers who will collaborate with several other law enforcement agencies and HM’s Prison and Probation Service.
The task force will be assigned the responsibility of mitigating this smuggling-via-drone problem. Specifically, they will be tasked with carrying out objectives to achieve this goal, such as inspecting drones that have been recovered from jail grounds so that the persons responsible for smuggling the drugs can be identified and tracked down.
Furthermore, the task force will rely on information originating from the prisons themselves as well as police departments around the country to formulate lines of inquiry.
UK Prison System in a Deteriorated State
While the government’s move to set up this task force has been mostly met with positive feedback, not everyone is pleased by this decision.
In fact, Mike Rolfe, the national chairperson of the Prison Officers Association, has called it a publicity stunt and a red herring.
He made his thoughts about the situation obvious when he made the claim in a recent BBC interview. According to Rolfe, the development is masking the real issue which is a UK prison system that is in a not so great shape.
Two former prisoners, lendedMark Sutton and Luke Chilvers, lent their two-cents about the situation, saying they believe the problems currently faced by UK prisons are largely due to things like staff cutbacks and cell overcrowding. Furthermore, they also think it has caused problems other than drug smuggling, such as prison violence.
Besides all of this, there also seems to be a problem with corruption inside of UK’s prison system, according to John Podmore, a former head of the anti-corruption unit for prison service.
He says that a significant percentage of the drugs smuggled into prisons were smuggled by prison staff.
Moreover, Prisons Minister, Sam Gyimah, formally recognized the problem and said that officers were dedicated to a solution and preventing the smuggling of drugs into the prison. Gyimah also added that the perpetrators would be tracked down and prosecuted.
What do you think of UK prisoners using drones to sneak in contraband? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images Via DIY Photography, HM Prison Service