Plans to block mobiles in prison

BY Ian Dunt

The government is planning to block mobile phones in prison, in a bid to clamp down on organised crime.

Crime bosses are thought to use mobiles while incarcerated to coordinate their business in the outside world.

The idea comes in a new strategy document to deal with serious organised crime released by the Home Office today.

Other plans include using tax powers to track down elusive criminals, the shutting down of ‘front businesses like saunas and massage parlours, and the pursuit of assets of organised criminals.

Home secretary Alan Johnson said: “The UK is known by international partners as a world leader in the fight against serious organised crime. However, the threat continues to evolve and it is right that we update and strengthen our response to match it.
“This strategy goes further than ever before in taking the fight to organised criminals- from the hard-to-reach criminal bosses to the lower-level players that are harming our communities.”

The new strategy, ‘Extending Our Reach: A Comprehensive Approach to Serious Organised Crime’, suggests regional asset recovery teams could be assigned to every part of the country to seize the assets of organised criminals.

Overseas criminals with UK-based assets will be investigated and the government is intending to improve its coordination overseas to target the emergence of networks in weak and failing states.

Police and security services are concerned that organised crime has moved to weak states after coordinated action in Europe made life more difficult in the West.