The benefits of CCTV monitoring
For many years the world has been observing the environment and for varying reasons, from law enforcement purposes through to monitoring of the natural environment. The rate of cameras being installed, and the level of CCTV monitoring has increased dramatically since the 1980’s with CCTV being present in almost every major location across the globe. CCTV monitoring is the ability of observing the external environment using various camera systems, although there is much more to this in terms of understanding the environment that the cameras are monitoring. A well-trained security officer (CCTV operator) responsible for CCTV monitoring is aware of the environment that they are responsible for and the specific/general risks that they should be observing and identifying. In this modern era of technology then the camera systems used can be self aware in that they can decipher changes in their own environment and thus initiate an alert, this level of system is classed as SMART technology and is evident in many of the current cameras on sale today. This level of technology greatly assists CCTV monitoring although it is recommended that those persons monitoring the systems need to also be SMART in their approach to CCTV monitoring and reporting.
For any organisation that has CCTV deployed then the main options are to have such cameras recording locally on site or to have the signal sent to an external monitoring centre whereby CCTV monitoring would take place. This all relies on whether the organisation deems it necessary to have live monitoring and an immediate response in place, or whether they are confident that they will only need the CCTV recording for evidential purposes post incident. As with other areas of security then CCTV monitoring also has industry standards and different levels of accreditation associated with it, this can sometimes be a minefield for a potential client, so it is recommended to speak with the CCTV monitoring provider to request what standards and accreditation’s they have and more importantly what these actually mean in real terms. Due to the technology used and the transmission methods of CCTV then it is not a case that a monitoring centre is required to be local to where the cameras are deployed, and a professional monitoring centre is able to observe cameras on a national and global basis. Although having a local monitoring centre or hub did sometimes have some benefits in terms of communicating with a client, this is becoming more obsolete due to the many forms of advanced communication from web chat through to screen sharing, including sharing of CCTV views with the client, and any reputable provider would ensure that support the client in every way.
For every camera or location that is monitored, then there must be an agreed action plan in place which is to cover every eventuality. This could include: Actions on unauthorised access Reaches of health and safety rules on site Suspicious activity around the site Actions on witnessing a general incident Levels of reporting and who to report to It is also worth noting that the CCTV monitoring centre should also have every camera geo-referenced on a map so that the operator knows exactly where the site is located. There should also be information on key holders, landowners, access, local police stations and any other relevant information. This information would be held within the individual assignment instructions for each site and be readily available to the CCTV monitoring operator, in print and electronic format. These assignment instructions would be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that all information contained within them was up to date and relevant. CCTV monitoring is a long-established form of security and one that when linked with a response of some kind is invaluable in fighting crime, it is also a very cost-effective means of monitoring a site and recording evidence. In the UK there is legislation surrounding CCTV monitoring and this includes human rights and data legislation, not to mention the processes that must be adhered to. More commonly used now as an added tool for CCTV monitoring is that of the addition of a tannoy system whereby the CCTV operator can communicate with persons on site, this allows for enhanced control of the site. This feature can be used to challenge unauthorised persons on site and to inform them that a response is on route, through to confirming the eligibility of those on site by requesting identification to be held up to the camera. Whatever your use for CCTV then if any form of immediate action is required then it is vital to ensure that any CCTV monitoring is conducted in a professional and diligent manner, and that all relevant staff are trained and have the authorisation to conduct this specific type of duty. There are very few limitations to CCTV, from having overt or covert cameras, fixed line or SIM data for video transmissions, through to rapid deployment versus fixed systems.