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Stop jail mobile jammer delays now: Minister

NSW Justice Minister John Hatzistergos has demanded the federal government be quicker to embrace phone jamming in jails.Hatzistergos said phone jammers must be introduced into state correctional facilities as a matter of urgency, adding in a statement the use of mobiles by prison inmates "poses a serious threat to the security, good order and discipline of our correctional centres".

NSW Justice Minister John Hatzistergos has demanded the federal government be quicker to embrace phone jamming in jails.

Hatzistergos said phone jammers must be introduced into state correctional facilities as a matter of urgency, adding in a statement the use of mobiles by prison inmates "poses a serious threat to the security, good order and discipline of our correctional centres".

The minister pointed to a recent conspiracy by a NSW inmate to murder a witness where a mobile was used from within prison, and other mobile-organised crimes in both Brazil and Israel.

Hatzistergos said despite agreement between Telstra, the Australian Federal Police and the NSW Department of Corrective Services on experimenting with mobile jamming, the federal government has yet to authorise lab tests.

Hatzistergos has been complaining about federal delays in trialling mobile jamming technology for some years. In 2005, he told parliament that he has been "continually stalled in this endeavour by the federal government. Despite the fact that we are using unprecedented resources to detect mobile phone possession in prisons, the reality is that rapid advances in technology have seen mobile phones become smaller, with negligible metal content, making them easier to conceal, even in body cavities ... regrettably the Prime Minister is resisting our efforts to conduct a trial."

Howard had promised to look into possible deployment of the technology three years ago, Hatzistergos said, but the ACMA has not given its approval for tests to begin. The ACMA did not immediately respond to request for comment.