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State of the art panic strips are installed at Blackpool custody suite

The new custody suite at Blackpool is a state of the art unit. It has been designed and equipped to meet the safer custody requirements for prisoners and staff. The latest systems and best practice have been taken into account. Full CCTV coverage of the custody suite and in cell communications provide the monitoring that is required to satisfy the stringent requirement laid out by the Home Office. Affray strips have been fitted throughout in order to provide reassurance and protection to custody staff that help is just a touch away should a situation escalate into a personal attack. The new affray strips fully integrate into the upgraded security system and have been installed all the cell corridors and also in the interview, alcohol test, medical, fingerprint and PACE rooms.

Affray strips were developed in the 1960’s by Cronapress. The affray strip was adapted from an original bus bell product which was developed in the 1940’s.

Known as the CB strip it been the market leader for a number of years, with their B strip being used as an assistance call alarm. Though the product had served the market well, Chris Butler, the Managing Director identified that there had never been a designed for purpose continuous alarm strip. Chris became aware of how many people are vulnerable to attack when he read about 2 medical consultants were brutally murdered while performing their jobs. This event triggered him to re invent both their products so they are easier to use and provide maximum reassurance. After 2 years of extensive research and development the Safe-zone affray strip and Feel Safe assistance call strip were born.

The team tasked with its development addressed the issues their clients had with the original products. The new strips have a wider contact area, increased by almost 10 times, that can be hit from any angle, the products are now almost completely tamper free and almost totally maintenance free. They are illuminated along the full length of the strip to offer reassurance to staff that it is active and functioning. They also alert other staff who are coming to the aid of colleagues by flashing in the area that has been activated. Plus, the need to test the strips is almost eliminated as the lights show its working.

The new products were launched onto the market last October and the manufactures tell Custodial Review that every Police Authority, court and prison who have seen the strips have said it will be their affray/assistance call product of choice. So far the strips are have been installed in a number of custody suits, courts, prisons and hospitals across the UK, where the response has been very positive. Lancashire Police were one of the first authorities to see the new products and once Wernick Modular buildings had seen the strips it was agreed to upgrade the affray strips in Blackpool’s new custody suite to Safe-zone. Wernick are also fitting Safe-zone as standard in all their modular cell buildings, ensuring their cells are at the cutting edge of design and therefore future proofing their units in this area.

After showing the new products to the Senior Technical Standards Manager at the Home Office. Cronapress were advised to get the new strips independently tested so the specification can be written into the Home Office design guide. Feel Safe is also being verified to IP65 for outdoor and bathroom use.

The final word has to go to the custody staff at Blackpool, their reaction to the question ‘what do you think?’ was ‘all good!’

For more information about Crona Safe-zone and Feel Safe, go please to the manufactures directly on www.cronapress.co.uk or call 01943 876600. Email on jo.bell@cronapress.co.uk.


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