Secure Children's Home Goes Biometric

February 02, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology News
LIVERPOOL, England: Human Recognition Systems today announced the completion of a biometric security installation at Gladstone House Local Authority Secure Children’s Home (LASCH), Liverpool. The unit is one of only 18 of its kind in the country that are directly contracted by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) of England and Wales to provide secure accommodation to some of the country’s most vulnerable & prolific young offenders. A robust inspection regime is carried out by both the YJB and The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI). Following a licensing inspection by CSCI it was suggested that The Department for Education & Skills (DFES) would recognise the benefits biometric technology would bring to the unit. In the summer of 2005 ministers approved funding for the installation of the system at Gladstone House.

Gladstone House accommodates 18 young people and has 80 members of staff requiring access through a series of secure air locks. Given that keys may never leave the building under local authority license agreements, staff at the beginning and end of shifts previously had to be escorted onto and off site, while their keys were stored in a secure key cabinet.

A cost-benefit analysis carried out by the management team at Gladstone House established that this process in itself was wasting around 35 man hours per week and was creating an additional financial overhead of roughly £18,000 per annum. Given that the incumbent key system also presented a potential security threat, in that anyone in possession of a key could potentially gain access, Human Recognition Systems were approached to provide a solution.

Recognising that Gladstone House required a robust solution that could facilitate access to the Secure Unit, whilst simultaneously bolstering security at key access points, Human Recognition Systems implemented a secure, integrated biometric access solution. An up front detailed requirements phase highlighted the appropriateness of a hand geometry recognition based solution from IR Recognition Systems Inc. given its suitability to harsh and demanding environments and its proven track record in custodial and educational organisations.

Full access and egress from the Unit is now only granted to authorised personnel upon presentation of their hand to a hand geometry reader. Keys are no longer required under normal operating conditions, meaning that employees can move around the Unit without the assistance of a colleague and that only authorised personnel are able to open doors. The network of readers controls five access points in all including two interlocked sliding doors at reception and an airlock comprising three interlocked high security doors which leads directly into the secure unit.

In addition, the HRS TimeManager solution was also implemented to address the requirement of monitoring staff time & attendance levels. The latest version of the software (2.5), coupled with a biometric time & attendance terminal from IR Recognition Systems Inc., now captures, processes and reports on the times that individual employees begin and end their shifts, providing visibility and accuracy of data which was previously not possible.

Ian McClure, Building and Security Manager at Gladstone House commented, “The new system provides us with improved levels of security, which is imperative at a site such as this, whilst facilitating a simpler and more convenient process for staff. In addition, the benefits of the system can be realised from day one. I have also been extremely impressed by the quality and professionalism of the work performed by Human Recognition Systems and look forward to working with them in the future.”

About Human Recognition Systems

Human Recognition Systems is an integrator of biometric technology, including fingerprint, iris, hand and facial recognition. Its main focus is applying biometric technology to physical access security, time and attendance processing or corporate network logons. Human Recognition Systems develop biometric solutions to increase security, reduce costs and deliver new capabilities.

About Gladstone House

Based in Liverpool, UK, Gladstone House is a Local Authority Secure Children's Home (LASCH) focusing on attending to the physical, emotional and behavioural needs of the young people they accommodate. It is run by local authority social services departments and overseen by the Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills.

Local Authority Secure Children's Homes provide young people with support tailored to their individual needs. To achieve this, they have a high ratio of staff to young people and are generally small facilities, ranging in size from six to 40 beds.

Secure Children's Homes are generally used to accommodate young offenders aged 12 to 14, girls up to the age of 16, and 15 to 16 year old boys who are assessed as vulnerable.