HC Deb 12 December 1985 vol 88 c1058
12. Mr. McNamara

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if there are any plans to change the strip-searching regime in Armagh prison.

Mr. Scott

No, Sir.

Mr. McNamara

Why not? Is the Minister aware that although it is acceptable to strip-search people leaving and entering prison when they have been outside the control of the authorities, be they the prison authorities or the RUC, any other strip-searching is vindictive and oppressive and will do nothing to help to improve relations between prison authorities and prisoners?

Mr. Scott

It is worth recalling the facts. During the six months from May to October 1985 there was only one strip-search of a remand prisoner attending Armagh court house. It is worth drawing to the attention of the House the fact that the Whitaker committee of inquiry into the penal system in the Irish Republic concluded that there appears as yet

to be no acceptable alternative means of guarding against bodily concealment of contraband. That is why strip-searching is important in ensuring the security of the prisons in Northern Ireland.