£5m key management system for prisons

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has awarded a £5 million contract to provide UK prisons with secure biometric key and radio management systems.

Mar 22, 2012
By Paul Jacques
Stuart Cowan

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has awarded a £5 million contract to provide UK prisons with secure biometric key and radio management systems.

Most prisons currently use a manual dispensing and depositing system to manage prison keys and radios. The new four-year contract with Traka, the intelligent access management systems company, means keys will be accessed, monitored and audited electronically, saving time and improving security.

Keys will be stored in secure cabinets, accessed by biometric fingerprint matching. Each keyset is equipped with an intelligent Key iFob®, which is tracked by Traka’s Key and Asset Management software, providing management reporting and tracking capabilities. The system can also be integrated with a range of other peripherals to deliver further multi-layered security arrangements.

Traka’s system has already been installed in 17 public and private prisons, and 40 secure and psychiatric hospitals.

Ian Mulholland, HM Prison Service, said: “The distribution and auditing of security keys is a vital part of the smooth and secure operation of any prison. We need to know where every key is at all times to ensure security.

“This new implementation will enhance security, streamline and standardise processes across prisons and assist officers to make better and more effective use of their time.”

Electronic key management can result in significant cost savings, from averting the potentially high cost of replacing keys and locks in the event of a compromise, to reducing the number of key sets held, thanks to the system’s monitoring and reporting functions.

Implementation at a number of sites is expected to be completed by the end of next month. There are 146 public sector prisons in the UK and it is anticipated that over 50 will have installed the new key management system by 2015.

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