What’s the connection between a split tennis ball and the carcass of a wildbird?
That’s right. They both can be stuffed full of heroin or cocaine and hurled over a jail’s perimeter fence; innocent-seeming objects to be retrieved by drug-dependent prisoners or dealers inside. These, however, are merely two rather rudimentary stratagems to breach prison security, because increasingly it is the case that criminal minds are focused on significantly more sinister hi-tech ruses to challenge the security of detention facilities. So, how are today’s security specialists countering the life-threatening menace of smuggled knives and drugs facilitated by illicit mobile phones and drones and other incursions that place prison staff at risk? It’s a question that prompts guarded answers, circumscribed by ‘classified’ national security restrictions, but within those constraints we’ll attempt to outline a number of considered solutions. At the heart of the security problems besetting prisons are the connected issues of under-staffing and under-funding, against a background of an ageing prison estate, which can include the ‘legacy’ technologies underpinning it.