Big Brother Is Watching and Protecting | Using CCTV to Enhance Security Operations

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

For some the idea of Close Circuit TV (CCTV) is just too intrusive – and yet it is a vital ingredient of a security plan for many commercial properties where risks cannot be covered by security guards alone. From shopping malls, to warehousing, assisted living facilities, hospitals, cinemas and other risky spots, CCTV is a low cost and full time security presence.

Cameras have all sorts of uses, from protecting against vandalism and theft, through to monitoring visitors and employees. Of course the deployment of cameras needs to take into account rules and regulations on privacy. And there are obvious sensitivities when it comes to people watching as opposed to watching places.

This all comes down to a system of management and how the investment in the camera system is put to the best possible use.

Recording 24 x 7 images to a DVR – only to then wipe the device clean every 30 days is in our view a very narrow use of a system that can provide so much more in terms of insight and intelligence.

CCTV trained operatives can monitor camera activity through the entire 24 hour cycle, or at the times when an area needs coverage, either because it’s so busy a guard can’t cover the area, or so quiet, that using a guard doesn’t make commercial sense.

A risk assessment of the area to be secured will determine the best use and placement of the camera system. Make sure you ask your vendor to carry out a full security risk assessment and receive a documented report.

If all of this is news to you then take a moment to consider when did you last risk assess the area you want to secure? As a property owner or manager responsible for security you probably have a gut feel of what you are trying to achieve in the security plan in your head. Now you need to transmit those thoughts into a well thought out plan, where your ideas are tested against objective standards of whether the risk you think exists is really there. Gut feel is all part of the process but so is working through a logical set of steps about how to secure what needs to be secured.

When investing in CCTV network it is the placement of the camera and the images it produces which will dictate where best to place the equipment. Alongside the placement of the cameras, the system of connecting the body-worn cameras into a network, and then relaying that back to a central station is all going to be part of the plan.

Even just the presence of cameras and signage confirming that an area is subject to CCTV surveillance is going to deter some crime or risk. And of course CCTV is an evidence gathering system to show how the approach to health and safety has been managed and delivered in the workplace.

So in a nutshell CCTV should be part of your risk assessed security plan. Top reasons for considering the system may include:

  1. Preventing trespass on to property

  2. Gathering evidence and retrieving it as necessary to help solve crime, or to support claims for insurance or litigation

  3. Assisting law enforcement agencies in the detection of criminals and adding to the prevention of crime in high risk areas

  4. Protecting staff and visitors in isolated spots

  5. Providing advance warning of emergency situations such as fire or flood


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