Drug-detecting dogs are being deployed to Bedford as part of the Government’s plan to crack down on violence and crime in prison.
A specialist dog, Bono, has already proven to make a huge difference in the effort to keep contraband out of Bedford Prison, with the canine finding a number of smart phones, sim cards, tobacco and cannabis in less than a month.
Another dog will soon join in with sniffing out illicit items at the prison, once it has completed training.
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A total of 176 dogs are being sent into some of the most challenging prisons in England and Wales. The new pack adds to the 630 dogs already in place.
In the past year alone more than 2,000 illegal items, including over 100 kilograms of drugs such as heroin, cannabis and spice, have been stopped from getting on to the wings by drug dogs currently in post.
More than 50 prisons are set to receive their new additions by March next year – with Bedford among the first in line. Each dog will be paired with their own dedicated handler, specially trained in detecting contraband items.
Prisons and probation minister, Lucy Frazer QC MP said: “These dogs and their handlers will make Bedford safer, more secure and ultimately a better environment for rehabilitation.”
HMP Bedford governor, Patrick Butler, said: “The use of dogs to detect illicit items has proven to be very effective at Bedford.
“Without doubt, the enhanced security will better enable my staff to detect, prevent and prosecute those who attempt to illegally bring drugs into our prison."