Lewes MP’s crackdown on mobile phones in prisons becomes law

MP Maria Caulfield in the House of Commons
MP Maria Caulfield in the House of Commons

Lewes MP Maria Caulfield’s Private Members Bill to block mobile phone signals in prisons has become law.

The Prisons (Interference with Wireless Telegraphy) Act 2018 was given Royal Assent by The Queen yesterday (Thursday, December 20).

The Act means mobile network operators can now detect, block and investigate illegal phone use in prisons - joining the Government in the fight against criminals who fuel violence behind bars.

The Secretary of State will be able to authorise mobile network operators to interfere and block phone signals in all prisons across England and Wales.

Ms Caulfield said: “This new law will render illegal mobile phones useless in prisons, meaning that criminals can no longer continue to arrange illicit activities in our communities, contact witnesses, smuggle drugs, or intimidate other prisoners or staff.

“This will make both our prisons and our communities safer from crime and help prisoners who want to turn their lives around to do so.”

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart MP said: “A mobile phone in prison effectively allows a prisoner to jump the prison walls: they can transfer money, record videos and intimidate witnesses.

“I thank my colleagues Maria Caulfield MP and Baroness Pidding for their work in sponsoring this Bill, which will help us to find and seize these illicit devices. This is just one in a series of measures we have implemented this year, showing our commitment to restoring stability and security to the prison estate.”