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Boris Johnson: £100m to halt flood of drugs and phones into prisons

Vow: Mr Johnson, flanked by Met Police chief Cressida Dick, announces prisons plan yesterday PICTURE: AFP/GETTY

BORIS JOHNSON is to spend £100million boosting security and cutting crime inside prisons.

The prime minister vowed to halt the flow of drugs, weapons and phones flooding into Britain’s jails in a bid to cut violence behind bars and ensure sentences work.

Mr Johnson said: ‘We cannot allow our prisons to become factories for making bad people worse.

‘We will stop the drugs, weapons and the mobile phones coming in, so we can safeguard victims, protect staff, cut violence and make our prisons properly equipped to reform and rehabilitate.’

The ministry of justice said the money has been released from the treasury and will be immediately available. It will fund an increase in X-ray scanners and metal detectors in prisons, and be used to target drug lords who continue to run their empires from behind bars.

It will also be used to strengthen the corruption unit that identifies dishonest prison staff. And it will expand technology to detect and block mobiles being used in prisons and to identify those harassing victims or organising drug deals from inside.

The spending pledge is the latest in a string of announcements from the PM, further fuelling speculation that he is preparing for an early general election amid the Brexit deadlock in parliament.

Mr Johnson pledged £2.5billion over the weekend to create an extra 10,000 prison places and £85million for the CPS yesterday. He also announced an urgent review of sentencing policy with punishments that ‘truly fit the crime’ — including locking up criminals for longer.

But shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said the measures ‘fall woefully short of what is needed to make our prisons safe’.

Other critics warned there was no evidence to suggest longer sentences would reduce crime. Frances Crook, of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said Mr Johnson ‘doesn’t seem to understand’ how the current justice system works.

She said: ‘We have excessively long prison sentences already and it doesn’t seem to be keeping us safe. What’s coming out of No.10 is politics but not real life. It’s a lot of hot air.’