New body scanning equipment 'effective'

Image caption, The dispute at the jail in County Antrim ended on Thursday

The justice minister has said new body scanning equipment which is being introduced in prisons in Northern Ireland is effective for searches.

David Ford also said it maintained prisoner and officer dignity.

Mr Ford was speaking after a dispute between prisoners and authorities at Maghaberry prison in County Antrim was resolved.

He said prisoners' rights and welfare, and prison officer safety could be maintained using the new technology.

On Friday, Mr Ford said that "there will still be the potential that if there are grounds for suspicion or the technology shows up something, there may have to be a full body search".

"But, by and large, we will be able to rely on modern technology," he said.

On Thursday, a dispute between dissident republican prisoners and the authorities at Maghaberry jail ended after talks.

Prisoners had complained about excessive strip-searching and controlled movement.

At one stage, prison officers were offered protective clothing after having urine thrown at them.

A group of mediators, including trade union representatives, said the details of the outcome of the talks would remain confidential.

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