The government could introduce an anti-drone system to end drug smuggling in English prisons right after a successful six-month experiment in Guernsey prompted ministers to look at a U-turn about the technology.
Prison governors and officers and the chief inspector of prisons have expressed frustration for the failure of HM Prison Company to use technology to counteract drone smuggling fuelling the growing drug condition in jails.
Ministers had been resisting implementing the device on cost grounds, but , the prisons minister, Rory Stewart, told MPs officials were considering rolling out your scheme.
“We will be using an electronic digital fencing technique which is deployed in Guernsey,” he explained. “If that electronic fence in Guernsey works, it’s a good cheap solution. Discovered consider its technical specifications therefore we could consider rolling it.”
Last month, HM Prison Service downplayed the achievements the technology. A spokesman said: “While there are some benefits to fractional treatments, this doesn’t happen allow us to to capture criminals seeking to smuggle contraband into prisons or intercept illegal drugs and mobile phone devices.”
SkyFence blocks radio signals around a prison whenever drones are detected.
The governor of Guernsey prison stated it had worked “superbly” mainly because it was running on June. Dave Matthews told the Guardian that because system was launched on 14 June, no drones had breached the prison’s perimeter no devices were being damaged in the act.
“We put this up because we saw that which was happening throughout the uk and then we knew that it was just a question of time before Guernsey became victim to deliveries by drones,” he was quoted saying. “The system has stopped the problem happening.”
The initial reluctance to adopt the machine dismayed prison staff who claimed the govt was more interested in being economical than making prisons safe.
Glyn Travis, the assistant general secretary on the Prison Officers Association, said: “Why will be the government not all set to safeguard prions from drones should the technology is available? Money shouldn’t come in front of public safety.”
Matthews said SkyFence was installed for 120,000, but that your failed to reflect the truth cost since the company involved, Drone Defence, was able to produce a loss for the system hoping that, once installed, it might help secure future commissions.
Mitch Albutt, the nation’s officer at the Prison Governors Association, said: “You would believe for those who have a superb system that greatly reduces supply, it might be implemented, especially with those prices.”
The problem of drone smuggling was highlighted by way of the conviction in October of seven persons in a gang who airlifted 500,000 amount of drugs into prisons.
In his annual report, the principle inspector of prisons, Peter Clarke, said the ready accessibility to drugs in prisons brought about a growing increasing amount of violence.
He criticised the Prison Service to be not fast enough introducing technology that deterred drugs from being brought into jails. “We have noticed types of how effective fractional treatments is usually, but so far it’s used within a few locations,” he wrote.
One of Clarke’s predecessors, David Ramsbotham, said every prison should use a Guernsey-style drone fence to produce prison “safer and even more orderly”.
Under the 2012 Prison Act, prisons can block cellular phone signals. The authorities in Guernsey amended this legislation to incorporate drones.
SkyFence has been activated mostly 32 times a month, mainly after detecting drones getting used for innocent purposes close to the prison. Nonetheless it has acquired some suspicious activity, such as a week during the warm months when drones were detected at about 2am several days repeatedly.
The government is described as anxious to stop potentially costly hips if property owner damaged or individuals are hurt by drones intercepted around prisons. Matthews said SkyFence only blocked signals as opposed to knocking drones down. In the event the signal was lost all drones had inbuilt homing systems that returned these to their operator.
Elliott Cockett, who runs a company in Guernsey called Drone Ranger, tested the computer by trying to breach the perimeter, but he failed. “I was amazed it worked wonderfully,” he explained. “It doesn’t tamper using the drone, it really blocks the communication relating to the remote plus the drone.”