Please contact: Gill Mulligan on or 0131 240 1963 if you require further support or guidance after reading the information below.

Internet connection

Video conferencing requires a good internet connection which provides a good bandwidth. The minimum recommended bandwidth for the video link is 512 kbps for both ‘upload and download’.

Note: Internet speeds vary between download and upload and both should be checked to ensure sufficient bandwidth to send and receive video and sound.

Users should note that even although there is a good internet connection the use of other devices on the same connection can impact seriously on the available bandwidth and could affect the quality or cause failure of the video link.

The picture quality and sound experienced is dependent on the quality of the equipment used and speed of the internet connection.

SPS has upgraded the equipment it uses to transmit and receive high definition standard and installed suitable internet connections to provide the necessary connection speed.

However, it should be understood that there is little we can do to address issues related to the speed or quality of the internet connection between your firm and the bridging service or software issues related to the legal agent’s computer or device.


A bridge system is in operation to connect your device to the prison.

At the exact time the visit is to commence the video link system will dial the prison. Staff at the prison will answer the call and complete a connection to the system/bridge and wait for the agent joining the call.

When the agent, using their unique code, ‘dials in’ they will be connected to the system/bridge which also controls the timing of the visit. This means that agents do not dial direct to the prison.

SPS has provided a secure encrypted connection from all the prisons to the bridge system.

It is your responsibility to ensure your internet connection and your equipment are secure when connecting to the system/bridge.

Agents should ensure that they only dial from a secure broadband network. Use of the mobile phone network and mobile hotspots should not be used as this may compromise the security of the connection.

We would also suggest that when connecting from your office or home you should consider your surroundings and remove any personal items that you would not wish to be visible to your client.

Troubleshooting guide

This troubleshooting guide should be considered in conjunction with section 3.8 Procedure where there is a connection failure in the user guidance.

1. What equipment do I need?

You can use either a laptop/desktop or tablet with the following:

  • Webcam
  • Up to date operating system
  • Access to individual email
  • Broadband connection (512 kbs is recommended)


2. Do I need to download any specific software:

Yes – you will require a suitable video conferencing client. You can find details in the operational guidance
If the video client fails to download this may be down to conflicting software or firewalls set up on your system and you would need to seek assistance from your own technical support.

3. What should I do if I have problems connecting?

Legal Agents using the system do not connect directly to the individual prisons, the connection takes place in a virtual meeting room via a bridging service. It is important to establish that you have connected to the bridge – this will be confirmed by a welcome message.

NB As the video link require internet connections it is essential to have access to a good broadband connection available to allow the Video consultation to be successful. Other users sharing the same internet connection can have an impact on the quality of your Video consultation.

Here are some of the things you should check if you experience a connection problem:

a. The software client does not connect when activated

This will probably be down to no or poor internet connection. Check your connection and if you are using a desktop or laptop via Wi Fi you should try connecting a network cable.

b. The software freezes when trying to connect (tablets)

You may have gone from a good internet connection to no or poor connection. Check your internet connection – carry out a forced shut down on your tablet and restart.

c. The software client does not connect when activated

If you have accessed the VC client and have entered the SIP code but connection is not accepted:

  • You should check you have entered the correct SIP code for this particular time and date.
  • You may not have any or adequate internet connection.
  • If you are using a desktop or laptop check you have selected SIP mode.

d. I have connected but the quality of picture and/or sound is poor.

  • Try disconnecting and reconnecting the call
  • Check if other users within your location are restricting the bandwidth which will impact on the quality of internet connection available.

e. The quality of the sound is okay at my end but the prison cannot hear me.

  • Check the volume on your device is not set to low or off.
  • If you are using a tablet make sure your case is not hindering the sound.

f. There is no sound at either end.

This is likely to be down to a poor connection or other users devices being used with the same Broadband connection.


4. Support


If you are using Polycom on your laptop and a registered version on your IPad you will have access to Polycom support and should use this if you experience any issues with the software not loading or not working.

Agent video links

Find out how to sign up for the prison video links system and the benefits of using VC to meet your clients.