In 2017 alone, 71 prison staff were found to be smuggling contraband into detention facilities in the UK alone. This is a known issue for security officers in prisons around the world, and that is why a major prison in Australia approached UVeye in 2019 about installing intelligent vehicle scanning devices.
During 2019 In England and Wales drugs were found 13,119 times in prisons, more than 35 incidents per day, on average. The number of incidents has tripled since 2014, after years of relative stability, with some smugglers taking advantage of new technology, such as drones, to deliver contraband. The value of the UK prison drug market is an estimated £100 million, according to the Prison Officers Association.
Drugs aren’t the only issue; weapons are also being smuggled into prisons at increasing rates. Instruments like wrenches and other self-made devices, usually attached to the undercarriage of vehicles coming in and out of the prison, can violate the rules and cause disruptions.
This Australian prison has over 100 regular employees coming in and out. Some of their vehicles have been used to deliver messages to the outside world from gang members who are in detention.
Whether the prison staff or bus drivers themselves were paid to smuggle materials and objects in or out of the prison, or a criminal from the outside attached phones or drugs to their undercarriage while their vehicle was parked, this was clearly a matter of concern.
In other prisons which don’t have an automatic system, there are usually manual inspections conducted by a guard holding a mirror to check the undercarriages of vehicles coming in or out. It is clear in the industry that an efficient technological solution is needed.
• Securing vehicle access control points
• Full integration to barriers, bollards and access control systems
• Tightly securing sensitive areas like the apron of the prison
• Automatic detection of illicit materials under the vehicle on the first pass
• Driver and passenger fever detection capabilities
Since most vehicles entering and leaving the prison come in and out regularly, there needs to be a quick and easy experience to compare the vehicles and look for attachments or modifications.
The system also needs to be versatile enough to detect anomalies in the undercarriages of a wide variety of vehicle types, from private vehicles to SUV delivery vehicles and armored trucks and buses.
Understanding that the quality of inspection and streamlining the entry and exit process is a top priority, the security chiefs of the prison contacted UVeye. They asked for an automatic solution that can compare every vehicle entering or leaving the prison, and that is able to detect any modifications, smuggled devices or illegal weapons entering the facility.
Helios UVSS by UVeye is setting the global standard for under-vehicle inspection. Equipped with five high-resolution cameras, the system can be installed at the access lane of the prison and automatically detect any illicit materials entering or leaving the prison walls.
Offering both single- and multi-lane stationary as well as mobile units, Helios has a feature called UVcompare that enables it to recognize vehicles by their license plate or unique undercarriage fingerprint ID and compare the vehicle to a previous scan. This feature can assist in detecting tiny objects such as letters, paper bags, phones and other contraband.
Advanced deep learning algorithms that were developed through training with millions of vehicles allow UVeye to offer its first pass solution, UV Inspect. Built on a truly intimate understanding of what a wide range of vehicles are supposed to look like in a variety of environmental conditions, UV Inspect can be used for vehicles that have not been previously scanned by a system. UVeye is the only under-vehicle inspection system (UVIS or UVSS) vendor to offer a first verified, first pass solution that greatly increases the effectiveness of security teams.
The UVeye team sent its representatives from Singapore for several site visits and worked closely with the construction integrator to provide maximum security and screening for all vehicles coming in and out of the prison.
Classifications for items such as tiny paper notes, which in other cases might be considered false positives, were calibrated to be exposed by the system within several seconds, and the security guards will be alerted.
The local staff was trained within several weeks of the installation, and objects like wrenches and boxes were picked up immediately during the early implementation of the system.
As a pass-through system that scans vehicles as they drive over the device at up to 30km/h, the prison’s security team is now able to keep traffic flowing without compromising the quality of its inspections.
The speed of inspection with a UVeye undercarriage system is reduced dramatically compared to manual inspection by a guard and keeps the prison staff safe. The queuing time for vehicles entering or leaving the facility is reduced by over 70% these cases improving staff satisfaction.
UVeye has simplified the documentation of inspections for the leadership, providing centralized, detailed reports of every vehicle, with the ability to compare past scans, which is often used for different purposes. If there is a case of corruption within staff, the accountability is immediate.
Adopting UVeye’s automated UVSS technology has given the prison’s security team a quick and efficient method to monitor all vehicles entering or leaving the facility. In a world where a detention facility’s security is constantly tested, it is important to automate and rely on objective systems that can help prevent smuggled items from reaching the wrong people.