Flight restrictions over Swedish prisons from next year

A ban on flights over five of Sweden's highest security prisons will be introduced next year.

The government decided on Thursday to meet the Swedish Prison and Probation Service halfway by introducing special flight restrictions over Kumla, Hall, Tidaholm, Norrtälje and Sandvik jails. The idea is to prevent escape attempts by helicopter and smuggling of weapons and drugs from the air.

The ban will stop aircraft from flying at an altitude lower than 600 metres over the institutions and from circling at a radius of less than two kilometres. Police helicopters, air ambulances and coastguard planes are exempt from the ban.

“We don’t want any threatening flights over our prisons, even if we have not had a problem with it yet,” said the head of the Prison and Probation Service, Lars Nylén, to TT.

“This is about protecting ourselves from all eventualities.”

He said that he sees the restrictions as one further step in the prison service’s security improvements. But he added that it is just one of many ideas under consideration. Another is to introduce helicopter obstacles in the form of cables over open prisons.

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TT/The Local