More guards for Doncaster prisons

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Extra guards will be hired and “no-fly zones” imposed over Doncasters jails in a bid to tackle drugs, drones and phones behind bars.

The news was announced after figures revealed at HMP Lindholme near Doncaster, more than a kilo of new psychoactive substances – which produce similar effects to illegal drugs like cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy – and dozens of mobile phones were seized in a single month.

An inspection report earlier this year revealed more than a kilo of the drugs, and dozens of mobile phones were seized at HMP Lindholme in just one month.

Offenders nationwide will be tested for drugs on entry and exit from prison as part of sweeping reforms aimed at halting the rising tide of violence and substance abuse in England and Wales.

Justice Secretary Liz Truss is announcing an extra 2,500 prison officers to strengthen the frontline.

Dwindling staff numbers have previously been highlighted by campaign groups and unions.

The new surge, which includes an additional 400 personnel announced last month, will be focused on staffing categories which total around 18,000 officers.

Other measures to be explored include action to combat drones dropping drugs and other items into prisons.

Figures have revealed increasing numbers of incidents involving the use of remotely-controlled devices for smuggling contraband into jails.

One of the proposals understood to be under consideration is a trial with industry to test whether co-ordinates of prisons could be built into drone technology so that the devices are repelled from flying over jails.

All inmates will face mandatory drugs testing on arrival and departure from prison, while 300 sniffer dogs have been trained to detect psychoactive substances, which have been identified as a factor behind surging incidents of violence.

The Government is working with mobile phone operators to block illegal use of handsets by inmates.

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