Metal Detectors For All Prisons

  • Nick Smith

Corrections Minister Nick Smith today announced plans to install metal detectors in all New Zealand's prisons next year to improve security and safety.

"Prison security is critical to the safety of inmates and staff as well as in preventing escapes that puts the public at risk and wastes Police time. Knives, tomahawks, hacksaw blades and even pistols are being carried in by visitors. Metal detectors will help prevent this."

The Department of Corrections is intending to purchase Archway Type Metal Detectors that will be used for screening visitors and inmates. Advertisements are being placed in this weekends' newspapers for the supply of the required equipment. The metal detectors are part of a $22.5 million security upgrade provided for in the 1998 Budget.

In recent random vehicle checkpoints 31 weapons were seized from prison visitors including a bayonet, knuckle-dusters, batons, an iron bar and imitation firearms. The haul resulted in 18 arrests and saw 37 people excluded from visiting prisons.

"The metal detectors are part of an overall boost to prison security. Alongside new perimeter fences, drug dogs and increased electronic security, the Government is determined to make our prisons safer and more secure."