With drones, the threat comes from the sky for French prison

Evoked by the Minister of Justice in the spectacular escape of the robber Redoine Faïd Sunday, drones are multiplying over French prisons. The prison administration is preparing its plan to neutralize them.

Is the drone the new friend of the “monte-en-l’air”? Pointed the finger by the French Minister of Justice, Nicole Belloubet, as a possible tool for the escape of the robber Redoine Faïd Sunday, July 1, the use of drones in overflight of prisons is not at his stroke. trial.

SEE ALSO: The “fan-drone threat”: how civil drones sometimes sow chaos in air traffic

Their proliferation in the prison world forced the prison administration to seize the problem to defend institutions against these invaders from the sky. And several companies are competing to become the anti-overflight solution for sensitive buildings.

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“Several months ago, the services of the establishment had spotted drones flying over the establishment”, explained Nicole Belloubet, during a press conference given from the prison of Réau from where escaped the robber Sunday, July 1. If the custody of the Seals later clarified that the formal link was not yet established between the two events, this scenario shows that drones are now a recurring problem in the French prison landscape.

The bane of the sky

Since the popularization of these unmanned aircraft to the general public, the various facts including drones are multiplying in the columns of the press. Small guns are regularly used to smuggle pornography, cigarettes, drugs and even weapons into the most serious cases.

In December 2017, the Rennes-Vezin prison administration sounded the alarm following the discovery of a package of two cell phones delivered by drones signal jammer. In July of the same year, a drone had deposited a parcel in the courtyard of the prison of Valence (Drôme). A few months earlier, another machine had been discovered in the prison of Villefranche-sur-Saone (Saône-et-Loire) after crashing.

“The problem appeared in 2016 with the commercialization of civil drones at much more moderate costs than before,” said a spokesman for the prison administration at France 24. “But the numbers have not increased so much, unlike our forecasts have remained constant at about fifteen a year, which is very low compared to the situation in other countries. ”

In Canada, their numbers are exploding. According to Radio-Canada, they went from 27 in 2015-2016 to 180 in 2017. In the United Kingdom, a director talks about daily flights.

Building legislation and a defense

“In France, the threat has been taken seriously from the start, not only in the context of the Ministry of Justice, but also for all sensitive sites such as nuclear sites”, continues the representative of the prison administration French.

“The first step was that the legislation adapts to the new situation.A drone is not a helicopter, there was then a legislative black hole on the subject until the law of October 24, 2016 and the decrees of 2017 “, details the spokesperson.

From now on, a person flying a drone over a prison is liable to one year in prison and 75,000 euros fine, under Article L6232-4 of the transport code. Its application has already begun. At the end of 2017, the Grasse Criminal Court sentenced to three months’ imprisonment a man who had tried to deliver four mobile phones in the yard.

“Then, we participated in an inter-ministerial working group to find the right method adapted to the penitentiary situation.We needed equipment accessible to the agents, operational in a space with high density and low visibility.Therefore a reactive material” , he explains.

The prison administration experimented with various techniques in several prisons. One of them has received attention and is already deployed in some penitentiary centers and should be expanded. However, for obvious security reasons, the Department of Justice can not disclose the one that is being used, or where it is already in place.

The juicy antidrone market

“There are plenty of techniques on the market and there is competition and money to be made,” says the prison administration representative.

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In France, we know that since early 2017, the Air Force is conducting an experiment on the training of anti-drone eagles. The four raptors, D’Artagnan, Aramis, Athos and Porthos, train to intercept the flying machines. The program was then inspired by a Dutch example, but it was interrupted: the birds were expensive to maintain and above all uncontrollable. The experience could therefore be short.

At the Davos summit in January 2017, the Swiss authorities announced the use of drone interfering rifles, HP 47s