All prisons will have a system with which drones can be detected. Criminals are increasingly using radio-controlled planes to smuggle drugs, telephones and weapons into prisons.
Minister Franc Weerwind (Legal Protection) emphasizes that the investigation into detecting drones is still in full swing. Five penal institutions (PI) now have a drone detection system. Weerwind wants to provide all prisons with a system that spots the planes as soon as possible.
These radio-controlled devices drop telephones and drugs and sometimes stabbing weapons on the airfields of prisons. Inmates can pick up the contraband during the airing and take them into the cell.
The detection systems alone do not solve the problem. According to the minister, the Judicial Institutions Service (DJI) is investigating the disruption of the equipment. Tests are underway at some locations with intercepting the drones. This still requires a lot of research, according to Weerwind in answering parliamentary questions from Michiel van Nispen of the SP.
Member of Parliament Van Nispen took up his pen when he heard that the tackling of contraband by airmail had ‘barely gotten off the ground’ for three years. In his answer Weerwind states that smuggling contraband is a thorn in his side. He denies that there is a failing approach, as the SP puts it. ‘The DJI makes every effort to combat contraband’, says Weerwind.
Takes way too long
Three years of subversion with drones has not been sufficiently addressed. Priority is needed, personnel safety at stake.
For the FNV trade union, this is all taking far too long. The union recently called on the minister to take measures quickly. “Why is this taking so long?”, wonders union director Yntse Koenen of the FNV. “The system is not there yet. Three years of undermining with drones has not been tackled sufficiently. Priority is needed, personnel safety is at stake.”
Minister Weerwind points out that as soon as a drone is spotted, prison staff can immediately take measures. For example, the air moment for the detainees will be cut short. The alerted police can try to find the drone pilot.
No-fly zone over prisons
Koenen questions this. He emphasizes the danger of continued criminal activity for staff and society. ,,If it is detected, is the drone immediately out of the air? Are there enough DJI or police personnel to enforce a drone ban, even outside the gate where the drone is operated?” Koenen wonders.
Weerwind also wants to talk to Minister Mark Harbers of Infrastructure and Water Management about the possibilities of introducing a no-fly zone over prisons. For drones, a prison is already a no-fly zone by the largest drone manufacturer. However, criminals can circumvent that technique.
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