On January 25, 2024, a new restriction that bans drones from flying within 400 meters of prisons or young offender institutions in England and Wales will take effect.
New “no-fly zones” are set to be established around correctional facilities in England and Wales to deter using drones to deliver drugs and prohibited items to incarcerated individuals.
This legal adjustment implies that individuals operating drones might incur fines of as much as £2,500 when flying within a 400-meter radius of closed prisons or youth offender institutions. Police can currently act on drone sightings where there is evidence of contraband being smuggled. This new restriction will provide police with expanded authority to take action on suspected criminal activity around prisons.
Those apprehended for attempting to smuggle contraband into penal facilities are already liable to a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.
The Minister of Prisons, Damian Hinds, stated, “This is the latest step in the war we are winning to stop drugs, weapons, and phones getting into our prisons. These virtual ‘no-fly’ zones, along with our new airport-style X-ray scanners, mean we can clamp down better than ever on violence behind bars to keep both prisoners and staff safe from harm.”
From 2019 to 2021, authorities observed, intercepted, or confiscated 504 drones near prisons in England and Wales. Collaborative efforts between law enforcement and prison personnel have resulted in over 70 convictions since June 2016.
In a noteworthy incident in May 2022, an attempted drone delivery was found to contain over £35,000 worth of drugs and mobile phones.
The alteration in the law was implemented through secondary legislation, utilizing the powers granted by the Air Navigation Order.
Post Image- Aerial view of HMP and YOI Peterborough (Image Credit: envatoelements by jacksonnick)