Andy Slaughter – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Ministry of Justice

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Andy Slaughter on 2015-12-15.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 14 December 2015 to Questions 19129, prisons: locks and keys, which prisons had to be relocked; and what the cost was of each such incident.

Andrew Selous

When a key/lock incident is reported an immediate investigation is undertaken to assess the risk and unless it is clear that security has not been compromised, locking mechanisms and keys will be replaced and/or other necessary remedial action will be taken.

In the five years from May 2005 to May 2010 there were 16 relocks at a cost of £1,280,234 to the taxpayer. Since May 2010 this has fallen to 8 relocks at a total cost of £529,973 to the taxpayer. Further to my answer of 14 December, the table below shows the location of the 8 relocks since May 2010.

The cost of a re-lock will depend the size of the prison establishment and on which keys have been lost or compromised. If a complete set of keys are lost, a full re-lock of the prison will be undertaken, whereas if a single key is lost only a partial re-lock will be needed, incurring a lower cost.

Time Frame


Total Cost (excluding VAT)

1 May 2010 – 1 May 2011

HMP Swaleside; HMYOI Glen Parva; HMP Warren Hill

£79,526; £173,608; £84,419

2 May 2011 – 1 May 2012

HMP Birmingham

£415,277 1

2 May 2012 – 1 May 2013



2 May 2013 – 1 May 2014

HMP Lindholme


2 May 2014 – 1 May 2015

HMP Haverigg; HMP Highpoint

£30,540; £15,856

2 May 2015 – 9 December

HMYOI Portland



1.The cost of the re-lock at HMP Birmingham was met by the private contractor operating the prison.

2.Prisons are also responsible for re-locks of crown court cells. Figures exclude re-lock of cells in two crown courts during the period.

3.The figures quoted have been drawn from live administrative databases and may subsequently be amended. Due care is taken during processing and analysis, but the detail is subject to inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.