A new partnership has been launched between Beds Police and HMP Bedford to clamp down on the smuggling of drugs, phones and other illegal items into the prison.
Police officers will be undertaking a series of preventative measures and deterrents to stop the illegal activity and help keep their prison officer colleagues safe.
The issue of drugs and mobile phones in prisons has become a growing problem nationally, with new detection measures introduced by the Government last year.
Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said: “I am determined to stop drugs and phones being smuggled into our prisons.
“They are illegal, they fuel violence, they undermine our programmes of education, and ultimately they threaten public safety.
“The launch of this partnership is exactly the kind of relationship we want to encourage between the police and HMPPS, and I am grateful to the police officers and prison staff for taking the initiative.
“We will continue to crack down on all attempts to get contraband into prison - this is a top priority for me as Prisons Minister.”
Police officers are set to conduct patrols around the prison perimeter and during prisoner visit sessions, as well as working closely with the prison’s security team to respond to any intelligence.
PC Joe Moore, from Bedfordshire Police, who is leading the crackdown, said: “It is a real shame that our hard work to put people behind bars can be undermined by them getting hold of phones, drugs or other illegal items when they are in prison.
“This new initiative will provide a visible police presence in and around the prison and send a clear signal to those trying to smuggle this stuff in that we are aware of the issue and will do everything we can to stop it.”
In May alone the prison’s security team recovered around 30 mobile phones as well as a significant amount of drugs, all of which had entered the prison illegally.
HMP Bedford Governor Helen Clayton-Hoar said: “I am grateful to my staff and Bedfordshire Police for their work in bringing this partnership into action.
“I am sure we will see the results in the coming weeks and months, meaning we can continue our work to reduce reoffending and help offenders turn their lives around.”
Bedfordshire Police recently secured two convictions as a result of phone seizures at HMP Bedford.
Nationally, a £2 million investment has seen every prison across the estate in England and Wales fitted out with hand-held mobile phone detectors and portable detection poles to step up the detection of illegal phones on the landings.
In addition, 300 specialist prison dogs have been trained in drugs detection to help stem the flow of illicit substances into our prisons, allowing officers to focus their efforts on reforming and turning the lives around of offenders.