Latest Information for Families
April 19, 2022
PIN Phone Pre-call announcement FAQ's
What is the Pre-call Announcement
Between 25th and 29th April 2022, a change is being implemented which means that every time a prisoner phones a social contact a short pre-recorded message will be played before the call is connected. The message will say:
“This call is from a person currently in a prison in England/Wales. All calls are logged and recorded and may be listened to by a member of Prison staff. If you do not wish to accept this call, please hang up now.”
Calls from prisons in Wales will also hear the message repeated in Welsh.
In England the recorded message will be approximately 20 seconds long and for Wales approximately 40 seconds as we need to ensure we provide the message in both English and Welsh.
Why is this message being introduced?
HMPPS has a legal obligation to inform all parties of the recording of calls made from prisons, to ensure transparency and compliance with the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, and Prison Rule 35A. In his report to the Prime Minister in December 2020, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, who inspects interception of calls in prisons, stated that the current system was not adequate, and recommended the introduction of an audible warning to recipients of calls in order to increase compliance. This report is publicly available at https://www.ipco.org.uk/publications/annual-reports/.
How much will it cost?
No extra cost is incurred by prisoners as a result of the message
Why can’t I provide my consent to being recorded in writing or electronically?
There are a few reasons why we can’t do this:
- The phone systems are not able to hold your personal data. Contact numbers are stored with a simple explainer, such as “Mother”, “Friend”, “Cousin” etc. not your full name
- Getting written consent could delay authorising contact numbers onto the system, preventing prisoners from making contact
- We cannot guarantee that the person who answers the phone is the person who provided their consent originally
When my family member/friend went into prison someone phoned me to check that I was happy to receive calls, and I said I was. Why can’t you do that instead?
Prisons are not obliged to check every social contact number, this is done on a case by case basis depending on risk. Even where those checks are made, there is no guarantee that the person who gave their consent will be the person answering the phone each time
What about someone who has deliberately not been told that an individual is in prison, such as a child or elderly relative?
It will not be possible to turn the service off for individual numbers. Potential alternatives should be considered, such as arranging for a carer to answer the phone first or choosing to inform those people that they are in prison.
Does anyone else do this?
Yes – Scottish prisons introduced a similar message around 7 years ago
Will the message be played in Welsh for Welsh Prisons?
Yes - the message will be played in both languages from prisons in Wales
Will the message be played in other languages?
No – The phone system cannot store your personal data, which includes your language of preference. Written translations of the message are provided in the languages most commonly spoken in prisons, and HMPPS is able to provide a translation in other languages if required.