Custodial security expert High Security & Safety Group is developing new solutions to meet the changing custodial market needs. 

The latest figures, released by the Ministry of Justice, highlight the ongoing issue of staff and prisoner safety in custody. All figures, including assaults, self-harm and deaths, have increased on the previous year. At a time when the Government is trying to introduce its prison reform scheme – Prison Estates Transformation Programme (PETP) – it demonstrates the challenges this sector faces and the careful balance needed between safety, security and prisoner well-being.  

Having recently been appointed on the UK’s first PETP prison, the High Security & Safety Group, has had to develop bespoke solutions for the project to meet the requirements of a modern prison environment. 

The principles under the PETP call for a less institutional feel to new prisons, not just in their aesthetics but in the very fabric of the buildings. Intended to aid the rehabilitation process and improve the safety in custody for prisoners and staff, the window and door solutions designed by the Group had to contribute toward the overall building performance in terms of its thermal, acoustic and occupant wellbeing, whilst maintaining the highest level of security. 

A new cell door has been designed and introduced by the Group, using high strength bonding processes instead of the traditional fully welded High Security & Safety Groupconstruction. The new design of door has undergone rigorous testing to simulate sustained and determined attacks that cell doors can be subjected to during a prison incident. Additionally, the door has a far superior aesthetic finish to traditional cell doors and this helps to maintain the improved look and feel of the building.

It is not only prison security that is changing. The growing number of police stations with significant custodial facilities is also increasing. The rise in ‘super stations’ has called for many constabularies to manage complex building needs, housing investigation hubs, up to 40 custodial cells, managing high volumes of staff and operating 24/7, 365 days. This has an impact on the safety and security systems needed to meet modern day custodial buildings. 

ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions High Security & Safety Group is currently working with police constabularies, including Metropolitan, Hampshire, Kent, Essex, Merseyside and Devon and Cornwall, to deliver solutions to meet the changing needs of police custody.             

Speaking on the challenges this sector presents, ASSA ABLOY High Security & Safety Group, Commercial Director, Michael Dunn, said: “The latest figures from the Ministry of Justice don’t make for great reading but changes are being made to improve safety for everyone within custodial environments. The focus on more ‘community-feel’ prisons is a key factor in reducing the number of incidents in custody, but this presents its own security challenges. Similarly, the rise in multi-use police stations impacts on the complexity of security needed to meet various access requirements. Ultimately, it’s about understanding the individual client needs, and then developing solutions that can be tested and delivered on time and on budget.”

To find out more about the custodial solutions offered by High Security & Safety Group, please visit