§ Mr. Mellor
Rule 39 of the prison rules 1964 provides that every prisoner, male and female and including those on remand, shall be searched on reception into prison and thereafter as the governor thinks necessary. Standing instructions provide that the search on reception should be a strip search, and other times at which prisoners may be strip searched include before and after court appearances, before and after visits, at the time of cell changes and during wing and cell searches. The frequency of such searches in individual cases will depend upon a range of factors including the incidence of court appearances, visits etc., and the security category of the prisoner concerned. The location of a search will depend upon the circumstances in which it is carried out. Comprehensive information of the kind requested is not available because establishments are not required to maintain statistics of the number of strip searches carried out.
§ Mr. John Fraser
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how often Ella O'Dwyer and Martina Anderson are strip-searched in Brixton prison, and why.
§ Mr. Mellor
Strip searching is a routine security measure for the detection of small items of contraband, in particular weapons and drugs, which can be concealed easily about the person and cannot be detected by other methods of searching. Miss O'Dwyer and Miss Anderson have been strip searched in accordance with standard practice, before and after court appearances, after visits, at the time of cell changes and during wing and cell searches.