X-ray body scanners have thwarted tens of thousands of attempts to smuggle weapons, drugs, phones and other contraband into prisons in just over a year.

The Government started to introduce the equipment in men’s prisons in England and Wales in 2020 in a bid to tackle violence and boost security.

The 74 scanners allow jail staff to check whether inmates are hiding anything inside their bodies and have already detected things like spice and morphine tablets which were destined for prison wings.

Conservative Party Conference
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab (Peter Byrne/PA)

According to the Ministry of Justice, 10,611 positive scans have taken place – meaning contraband has been found – since the technology was installed in June last year.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said: “Drugs and weapons wreak havoc behind bars and stop frontline staff from doing their crucial work to rehabilitate offenders and cut crime.

“Our new scanners help us keep out dangerous and illegal items from prison, that means our staff can create a better environment to get offenders off drugs and into work – which is the key to reducing reoffending.”