Police work with local prisons
Police have warned they will take robust action against anyone found in possession of so-called legal highs within Norfolk’s prisons following a change in the law.
New legislation came into force today (Thursday 26 May 2016) making it an offence to supply any psychoactive substances. It also means the law on possessing so-called legal highs within prisons has changed.
Norfolk Constabulary works closely with both HMP Norwich and HMP Wayland to prevent prohibited items being smuggled into the prisons and have officers based at both establishments in order to investigate potential criminal activity on site.
Inspector Nick Hewitt explains why the new legislation will give the police powers to come down harder on those breaking the law: "Previously it was only against prison rules to possess psychoactive substances within the prison walls; however, the law now states it is a criminal offence to possess a so-called legal high within the premises.
"We have developed a strong partnership with HMP Norwich and will continue to build on this to identify those who break the law and we will seek to prosecute them. This will include targeting visitors to the prison who try and smuggle any illegal substances into the premises.”
The warning from Inspector Hewitt comes after the Director of Public Sector Prisons, Ian Mulholland, publically praised HMP Norwich and Norfolk Constabulary for their partnership working, claiming it was the best he had seen and advised other prisons to look at similar partnerships with neighbouring forces.
Stew Kelly, Head of Security and Intelligence at HMP Norwich, said: "I am extremely proud of our partnership with Norfolk police who are very responsive and proactive in supporting the prison in all aspects of our work.
"Offenders inside and outside the prison need to be absolutely clear – those caught attempting to smuggle any prohibited items into the prison, such as psychoactive substances, drugs or mobile phones, will face very serious consequences.”
Meanwhile PC Paula Gilluley, Prison Liaison Officer at HMP Wayland, has also welcomed the new legislation: "Officers have worked closely with HMP Wayland over recent years to target offenders inside and outside the prison who think it’s acceptable to break the law.
"New legislation in November 2015 also made it an offence to throw any items over prison walls and this is something we are targeting heavily.
"We will not tolerate people attempting to bring drugs and contraband into the premises in any way, shape or form and we will continue working with the prison to disrupt this kind of activity.”
Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Lorne Green, welcomed the partnership approach saying: "These substances, unhelpfully termed legal highs, have been negatively impacting on our county - and particularly its more vulnerable residents - for too long.
"While the new legislation will make them harder for people to acquire, I am under no illusion that the ban alone will rid us of these drugs.
"It’s work like this between our police and prisons to enforce the legislation which will have an impact, alongside more awareness of the dangers of using them and support for those affected.”