Daily Telegraph: Ministers 'turn blind eye to jail drug smugglers'

Friday, 30 November, 2007

MINISTERS were accused last night of "turning a blind eye'' to drug smuggling in prisons.

The claim came from the Tories as new figures showed a collapse in the arrests of so-called drugs "mules''.

The number of prison visitors arrested for smuggling narcotics into jail has fallen by 50 per cent over the past seven years. In 1999-2000, there were 735 arrests for smuggling substances into prison. In the 12 months to April this year, there were only 383.

However, the Prison Service believes the problem is getting worse. There has been a 10 per cent rise in the number of visitors suspected of acting as drug ''mules''. Last year, governors suspected 3,900 visitors and have imposed bans on 2,700.

David Ruffley , the Conservative police reform spokesman, said: ''Ministers are turning a blind eye to the criminality that is under their noses