British prison pioneers war against drones

Prison DronesA Channel Island prison has become the first in the world to use a new system designed to stop drones smuggling drugs, weapons and other contraband over perimeter walls.

British companies have collaborated to install a comprehensive perimeter protection package at Les Nicolles Prison on Guernsey, including the new “Sky Fence” technology.

It creates a 600m shield around the prison to detect remote-controlled drones, then uses a series of ‘disruptors’ – sensors to jam the drone’s computer – to block its frequency and control protocols and divert it back to where it came from.

Drones have become a major security problem in Britain’s prisons and are increasingly smuggle in drugs, weapons, phones and other valuables.

Les Nicolles has ordered around 20 disruptors on the perimeter fence line and within the jail.

Sky Fence is the creation of British companies Drone Defence and Eclipse Digital Solutions. At the same time, steel fencing manufacturer Zaun and Coventry-based PIDs business Harper Chalice have also supplied products installed by the UK’s premier prison perimeters installer Binns Fencing.

Prisoner governor David Matthews said: “This is the first time this technology has been used in any prison anywhere in the world.  I would like to see it adopted in other UK prisons because it has become a significant problem.  This is about prevention.”

Nottingham-based company Drone Defence has worked on the idea in the past year.

Founder and CEO Richard Gill said: “It disrupts the control network between the flyer and the drone.

“The drone then activates return to home mode, and it will then fly back to the position where it had signal with its flyer.

“Someone described it as the final piece in a prison’s security puzzle. I think it could have a significant worldwide impact.”

Eclipse managing director Alan Drinkwater said they had modified existing technology to create Sky Fence.

The new system in Guernsey is part of a £1.7 million security upgrade that also includes new cameras, new fencing and sensors, a new lighting system and new alarms.

A multi-use games area for prisoners has also been set out within the walls.

Les Nicolles is a mixed category prison that holds both men and women, young offenders and adults, and has a capacity of just 139.  It opened in 1989, and its population has fallen to an all-time low in recent years.

It is independent of the mainland prison and justice system and is run by the State of Guernsey.

About Zaun

Zaun is the only in-house British Manufacturer of Woven and Welded Mesh Fencing Systems. For 27 years, they have been the trusted manufacturing partner for sports and physical perimeter security. With a wide range of fencing, gate, and HVM solutions they can offer Protection Through Innovation for your next project.

Located in the West Midlands, they are a privately owned company first formed in 1996 and continuing to promote British manufacturing on the world stage. A proud member of Made in Britain and Made in the West Midlands, Zaun has worked on numerous projects around the world from Border Security and Airports, to Sports and Critical National Infrastructure.

The continued investment in their manufacturing processes and systems has enabled the latest in problem-solving and innovation. At the same time, an approach to ‘The Right People in the Right Places’ puts the customer experience at the heart of their business.

The quality of their wide range of systems is assured through ISO 9001 and third-party certification for high-security and HVM solutions including LPS 1175, Secured by Design, Approved for UK Government Use (NPSA), and PAS 68.

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