The Life Signs Monitoring System – The Cell Occupant and  Occupancy Monitoring System



  • LSMS – the original Life Signs Monitoring System.
  • COMS – the original PC based version of LSMS (monitoring Occupant & Occupancy).
  • COMS24 – the latest version with no requirement for EMI screening.
  • LSMS Gen IV – autonomous single room sensor system.

LSMS/COMS has been in constant development and improvement for over 17 years.  The requirement was outlined originally by Hertfordshire Constabulary.  The system was briefly known as the Cell Breathing Monitor, but quickly became the Life Signs Monitoring System (LSMS).  The current name “COMS” was introduced when the control software became PC based and to underline the capability to monitor both cell occupant AND occupancy  to ensure a complete Audit Trail.  COMS24 denotes the microwave frequency of the latest system, which is more sensitive and importantly does not require screening of the cells thereby reducing cost and simplifying installation.

The system has been installed in over 80 locations, covering over 390 cells.  During that time it has been formally and successfully trialed by the following organisations:

  • The then Police Scientific Development Branch (PSDB)
  • Devon & Cornwall Constabulary
  • The Hague Prison
  • The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC)
  • The Hong Kong Correctional Services Department (CSD)
  • The Youth Justice Agency in Northern Ireland
  • East London Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

To most users the system is simply know as “LifeSigns” – it has become the Hoover/Biro/Fridge of non-invasive breathing monitoring.

The System uses up to six sensors within the cell to detect movement.  ‘Movement’ constitutes any level, down to chest movement caused by breathing, even in deep sleep and under bedding.  The monitoring capabilities of the system warn custody staff of occupants’ potential problems, thus providing an increased awareness and more time for preventative measures to be taken – thereby possibly saving lives and safeguarding careers.  It is vital to remember that CCTV cannot see people breathing.

Up to 32 cells can be monitored by one PC.

In summary:

  • The system is designed to provide an early warning for custody staff with maximum ease of use and minimal maintenance.
  • Completely automatic, working 365 days a year and can log every event; providing full accountability for all those involved.
  • For the UK Police it is intended to supplement, not to replace, the visit requirements stated by the Police & Criminal Evidence Act (PACE), Codes of Practice.
  • It is there to support users’ Duty of Care & to provide an indelible audit trail to demonstrate that all obligations, and more, were adhered to.