A new digital forensics unit is being set up and the digital investigations team expanded to crack down on criminal activity from prisons.
Prisons Minister Lucy Frazer announced the move, saying that a new lab will be equipped with cutting edge technology to analyse the growing number of mobile phones seized in jails.
The unit will be staffed by digital specialists to investigate offenders carrying out illicit communications.
It is part of the Government’s £100 million investment in prison security, along with airport-style checks and phone blocking technology.
Frazer (pictured) said: “We know that the ways in which criminals conduct their business is advancing – with prisoners harnessing new technology and the dark web to further their operations behind bars.
“Bolstering our powers to detect and disrupt this kind of crime is a key element of our £100 million investment in prison security. Alongside airport-style scanners, metal detectors and phone blockers, we will crack down on those who continue to commit crime and wreak havoc in our jails.”
More than 200,000 mobile devices and SIM cards are seized in prisons each year.
The new technology will be used to identify perpetrators more quickly and produce improved digital evidence to support prosecutions, and help to gather intelligence on how phones are being used to commit crime and detect criminal activity in the wider community.