The clampdown follows growing concern that prisoners' family and friends are using ever more ingenious methods to smuggle in drugs. Probation officers are angry that their members are also under suspicion and have demanded an end to the practice.
Yesterday the Prison Service said they had to search more children because of an apparent upsurge in smuggling. There were 2,000 drug seizures during visits to jails in the past year.There are no figures on how many involved children.
"Body searches of children ...do seem extraordinary," Harry Fletcher, of the National Association of Probation Officers, said. "If authorities suspect a baby or infant is being used as a drug-carrier, then strict observation ought to be sufficient ... Rules for [body] searches for probation officers are ... an insult to professional integrity."