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News

Custodial cell locks with no ligature attachment points

Pickersgill-Kaye : 08 March, 2013  (Application Story)
Irish custodial suites are being fitted with cell locks and hatches from Pickersgill-Kaye designed to increase safety towards prisoners vulnerable to suicide risk
Custodial cell locks with no ligature attachment points

Pickersgill-Kaye’s products have been approved for an on-going programme of major refurbishment works in the Republic of Ireland to improve the safety and security of the Garda’s custodial facilities.

The Leeds-based manufacturer’s cell lock and custodial hatch fulfilled the Irish government’s Office of Public Works (OPW) requirements when it decided to upgrade Garda Station cells after representations made by senior officers of the Garda Siochana, following recorded deaths and injuries in custody and the need to mitigate against ligature points in its cells.

Of the most recent cases of suicide and attempted suicide recorded in Garda custody, the majority of the victims had died or self-harmed through asphyxiation after managing to find ligature points on old-style heating grills, lights, door hatches and cell door locks.

These incidents were causing not only huge distress to the prisoners’ families but also costing Irish taxpayers substantial sums in compensation claims due to the standard of the cells, some built up to 80 years ago, which were deemed to be a contributing factor in the detainees’ deaths. Some cells subsequently had to be demolished to meet contemporary safety standards.

Pickersgill-Kaye’s custodial inspection hatch and ligature resistant external 8-lever Kaye Class 1 Custodial Cell Lock were approved and advised to all the cell door installers, including Irish engineering company Oliver Boland Engineering Ltd in Enniscorthy, which produced the new cell doors using Pickersgill-Kaye’s products at selected Garda Stations all across the Republic on a planned programme of change, including the Blackrock Garda Station in Dublin.

Its lock, strike plate and custodial hatch meet the OPW and Garda’s Professional Standards Unit’s (PSU) strict design criteria for the refitted cells by addressing the architectural issues of the old style doors and mitigating against potential ligature points.

Kaye Class 1 is a heavy duty lock which can fit most standard cell doors. It has been installed by door manufacturers at a growing number of custodial facilities for authorities in the UK, including the Metropolitan Police, Cleveland, Staffordshire, West Yorkshire Police and Two Counties.

Pickersgill-Kaye’s locks help in the provision of safer cells, whilst providing excellent levels of security and resistance against wear and tear. Its products set new standards in terms of modern design, the construction of the lock and its high level of performance.

It also provides a more robust key management regime than its competitors offering greater protection not only to vulnerable detainees, but also station personnel, according to OPW’s Higher Executive Officer and project co-ordinator T J Hogan.

He said: “Pickersgill-Kaye’s lock and hatch are very robust and met the strict criteria for eliminating potential ligature points from the new cell doors. It also offers a lockdown facility, which can help Superintendents protect the integrity of day-to-day officers, if the need were to arise.”

The Kaye Class 1 Cell Lock meets the demanding requirements laid down in the respected SS317 standard: An international specification that accurately measures the lock’s resistance to wilful damage, physical security, ergonomics, cyclic testing and performance in a hostile environment.

Tested to 300,000 handle operations and door slams and 100,000 key operations, the lock is also resistant to a 12-hour saw attack, as well as a side load on the deadbolt of 25kN and to an end load on the deadbolt of 25kN. The SS317 standard also means it is now necessary to prove that attacking the handle does not prevent unlocking and use of the wrong key does not stop subsequent unlocking with the authorised key.

Modernisation work is continuing fitting out Garda Stations with the new doors incorporating Pickersgill-Kaye’s high performance hatch and cell door lock, but in time the entire force will be able to provide a safer environment for detainees by eliminating the risk for prisoners to find the means for self-harm.

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