Body scanners to be trialled at Co Derry prison

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Body scanners are to be trialled at Magilligan Prison in Co Derry.

The Northern Ireland Prison Service yesterday confirmed the scanners will be installed at Magilligan and Hydebank Wood Young Offenders’ Centre.

The technology is similar to that used in airports and is seen as an alternative to full body searching.

Justice Minister David Ford said:“Unfortunately, a number of practical and logistical matters have taken longer to resolve than was originally anticipated. However, NIPS is now in a position to confirm that the first of these two pilots will commence next month. It is important to recognise that progress cannot be made at the expense of prison security and the pilots will test whether the technology can offer the same, or even enhanced, safeguards as those provided through the current procedure of full body searching.

“Full body searching is not ideal, whether for prison officers or prisoners. We have been actively working on an alternative, in line with the recommendation of the Review Team.

“This announcement should be recognised as another significant step forward within the prison reform agenda as we work to transform NIPS into a modern Service under the SEE programme, and continue to address the recommendations of the Owers’ report.”

The scanners will be trialled over a three months period