HC Deb 15 July 1997 vol 298 cc97-8W
Dr. Lynne Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans he has to introduce measures to record and monitor the incidence of strip searching in prisons other than for Category A prisoners; [8543]

(2) what assessment he has made of psychiatric research in respect of the trauma suffered by victims of strip searching; and what changes he plans to make to the Government's policy on strip searching as a result; [8545]

(3) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of (a) rub-down searches, (b) metal detectors and (c) strip searches in the detection of drugs and explosives; [8544]

(4) what guidelines govern the strip searching of women (a) during pregnancy, (b) soon after giving birth, (c) during menstruation, and (d) after operations. [8542]

Ms Joyce Quin

Detailed guidance on searching is set out in the Prison Service Security Manual, although there are currently no specific guidelines on the searching of women during menstruation, pregnancy, after birth or after operations. A copy of the Manual is in the Library.

I have asked the Prison Service to review searching policy, with particular regard to strip searching. The review will consider the legal and policy framework and the need for revised procedures. The review team will take into account the usefulness of the current procedures; monitoring and statistical issues; relevant research; and whether the procedures should be different for women prisoners. I will announce the report's conclusions once it has been completed.