National award success for Eclipse

Eclipse Digital Solutions were proud to be named Integrator of the Year at the Security and Fire Excellence Awards 2018.

Our winning submission to the judging panel focused on the upgrade of a fully integrated security system at Les Nicolles prison on the island of Guernsey.

The system comprises a perimeter fence with perimeter intrusion detection system, IP-based CCTV, security lighting, cell call and a fire alarm system.

A unique feature of the project, the first system of its kind to be used at any prison worldwide, was the installation of a drone detection and mitigation system.

Original technology in this area was redeveloped specifically for this project and integrated into existing security measures to create a holistic solution. 

The system uses radio frequency detectors to detect the presence of drones from up to 500m away and deploys a 600m invisible shield to stop them from flying into or over the prison.

Named SkyFence, the selected mitigation technology is designed to protect low level airspace, which often remains unprotected and is vulnerable to attack.

Drones are detected and repelled and the system provides intelligence including the type of drone used along with flight time, date and duration.    

A series of 20 “disruptors” were placed around the perimeter and inside the facility. These sensors jam the drone’s computer, blocking its frequency and control protocols. The operator’s screen will go blank and the drone sent back to its start point.

The drone is not damaged during the process and if it has ‘return to home’ mode, the operator will regain control once it has moved away from SkyFence.

State-of-the-art technology was also implemented in other areas. IP-based CCTV cameras were installed and the whole security system is controlled from one unit in the control room.

One of the biggest obstacles faced during the Les Nicolles project was legislation governing the interruption of radio signals.

Existing legislation was outdated which meant that Eclipse had to work with prison governor David Matthews to successfully lobby government officials on Guernsey to discuss the need to extend the wireless telegraphy act to permit the use of the system.

Other challenges included integrating the drone detection and mitigation system into the CCTV allowing cameras to locate and follow the detected drone.

Since the project at Les Nicolles was completed in May 2018, the security system has eliminated all ‘throwovers’ and stopped all drones from flying over the site. 

The project received coverage on BBC and ITV. Click on the link below to view.

Anti-drone fence used in Guernsey prison

David Matthews, governor, Les Nicolles Prison, Guernsey

“Although drones have not been a particular problem in Guernsey, I was concerned that the experience in the UK would eventually emerge. We have now addressed that problem by working with Eclipse and we’ve been very pro-active about stopping criminals using drones as a delivery method.

“The technology installed both on the fence to mitigate against drones and then integrated into the control room is superb. This is not only a first for the prison here in Guernsey, or even the UK, but it’s a first for any prison globally.

“As early adopters, it was obvious we would encounter some problems along the way. That said, the patience, skill and endeavours of the Eclipse team always meant they were able to work with us to overcome them.

“This pioneering system has shut down one avenue of supplying illicit items into prison.  I’m immensely proud to think that Guernsey is leading the way for prisons and has managed to stop this route before it became a problem.”