HC Deb 17 November 1966 vol 736 cc605-6
5. Mr. Mapp

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department since when the use of spikes and/or barbed wire has been prohibited on prison outer walls; and if he will now arrange for modern security means on outer prison walls to be supplied.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

It was found many years ago that obstacles on prison walls facilitated the use of grappling irons. Perimeter security is being strengthened at selected prisons, and I shall consider urgently any recommendations which Lord Mountbatten may make.

Mr. Mapp

Does not the Home Secretary agree that the introduction of modern methods, operated electrically or otherwise, for guarding the top of perimeter and outer prison walls would provide that ten-minute pause that is vital to a prison governor in preventing escapes? That point is so obvious and so sensible that deferment seems entirely unnecessary.

Mr. Jenkins

Modern methods are of great importance and I am extremely anxious to see them introduced, but I am not sure that spikes or barbed wire are in the category of particularly modern methods. It is the case, however, that the point, as my hon. Friend said, was so obvious that it occurred to me, but technical advice is unanimously against it, and suggests that it does not increase but rather worsens security.