B.C. Corrections seeks ways to stop contraband drops at jails by drones

VANCOUVER — Smugglers are taking to the air and using drones to get past walls and fences to deliver drugs, cellphones and other contraband to inmates at correctional centres.

That is why B.C. Corrections is gathering information about ways it can use technology to protect its 10 provincial institutions from drones.

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While drones are not yet “a significant concern,” as they are in other jurisdictions, the agency says it is always looking for ways to respond to potential new threats.

“To this end, B.C. Corrections is currently consulting with security advisErs on drone detection options,” the service said in an email.

B.C. Corrections would not provide data about drone-related incidents at its facilities “due to security.”

In a request for information that closed on Monday, Corrections B.C. noted that the drone industry has grown over the years, and there is potential for the devices to be used for surveillance and smuggling contraband.

For that reason, it is interested in technology that can detect drones in use, within and around one kilometre from its jails.

B.C. Corrections is not the first agency to look at drone detection, which is common in the U.S., where contraband smuggling by drones is a bigger problem.

The Correctional Service of Canada, which oversees 43 federal institutions, including nine in B.C., plans to spend $6 million over the next three years on a drone-detection pilot program.

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