UK asks for ways to destroy contraband drones heading to prisons

The MOJ competition is asking for solutions to eradicate contraband delivery drones.

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BALPA

The UK Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has launched a competition asking for ideas to stop drones from dropping contraband into prisons.

Drones delivering everything from weapons to drugs and mobile phones are proving to be a serious issue for today's prison services in the UK.

Prison employees already have to cope with high numbers of inmates, drug usage, and a lack of both funding and staff -- and so adding contraband falling from the sky is potentially more than prison operators can cope.

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The MOJ wants technological solutions to this problem and has earmarked a total of £950,000 for ideas.

The aim of the competition is to develop "novel detection techniques" to identify contraband in prisons.

This includes finding mobile phones and SIM cards -- as well as those with low metal content that may not be picked up by metal detectors; ways to detect small quantities of drugs, weapon tracking and explosives detection.

In addition, drone detection is on the cards. If drones are detected, then ideas or inventions which can ensure the "capture or safe destruction" of them are also admissible.

The MOJ insists that designs are practical, "robust enough to withstand the prison environment," and commercially viable.

If interested, applicants can apply for up to £50,000 to develop their designs. In total, £500,000 has been allocated for first-stage applicants, while a further £450,000 has been set aside to transform phase one concepts into working prototypes.

The competition is open to proposals until 25 October.

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