CCTV set-up looks to catch out the criminal

Waste centres across Cheshire are being protected from intruders by a remote monitoring system, enabling round-the-clock security for site operators

An advanced CCTV system has been installed across 15 household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) in Cheshire to combat out-of-hours vandalism and criminal attack.

The sites, operated by HW Martin Waste on behalf of Cheshire County Council, have been secured by Crimewatch Systems, which has installed an advanced, remotely monitored, detector-activated CCTV system. The solution is built around dedicated Micros NetVu-connected CCTV systems and NetVu ObserVer management software.

The system rolled out comprises 13 digital sprite 2 digital video records (DVRs) with NetVu ObserVer viewing software, 26 vandal-proof Dennard 2060 outdoor domes, and 13 KBS3 digital remote keyboards. These were all supplied by Dedicated Micros.

Optex Redwall outdoor PIR sensors were also selected to provide early detection
of intruders around the perimeter of each site.

Commenting on the installation process, Crimewatch System's Mike Readman says: "This was an ambitious project for us in terms of the sites covered and the timescale, with a wide variation in size, location and lighting conditions. On one site we had to put in additional IR illumination because of its proximity to housing. We did not want to draw attention to it at night so that the remotely monitored CCTV could work effectively."

The strongest link
In operation, the DVRs at each location are linked back by broadband connection to Crimewatch Systems' advanced CCTV-M control centre for night time monitoring. Here operators are able to use a special remote video response centre (RVRC) version of the viewing software to deal with any detector activations and associated CCTV images.

In addition, authorised staff at HW Martin Waste's Sandbach regional
centre can view the connected sites during working hours, using their own version of NetVu ObserVer via a PC - not only for security issues, but also for use as a management tool. A good example of this is the ability to use the CCTV solution to help them remotely tell if a skip on a site is full and needs to be emptied, rather than checking manually. HW Martin Waste director Mark Faulconbridge believes that, when it comes to waste sites, there are a number of major challenges presented by unwanted intruders.

Tackling opportunists
"There are the opportunists who - if left unchecked - will simply climb over the perimeter fence at night to rifle through our skips and take whatever they want. There are those who are intent on causing vandalism for the sake of it, and dangerous criminal gangs who are targeting metal-based materials and items of high value," he says.

He adds: "When people come in uninvited out-of-hours there is not only the potential for damage to our infrastructure - with knock-on effects on the smooth running of a site - but also the fact that such individuals can be a real danger to themselves in terms of accidents and injury.

"The upshot of this is that we need to be in a position, 24/7, to keep people out who should not be here. This is by having effective oversight and control of each area. The Dedicated Micros solution we have adopted for Cheshire supplies remotely monitored, detector-activated CCTV that allows operators to take proactive action when something happens.

"This is rather than having to rely on footage viewed post-event. The use of loudspeakers at each site also means operators can announce that individuals are being monitored."

The need for a solution was brought home to Faulconbridge during the installation process. Security guards were being used to secure the sites until the new systems went live.

"At one of the sites a security guard was seriously assaulted by an intruder, which meant that we had to temporarily increase the number of guards to ensure safety of the personnel and the security of that location. Thankfully, since the guards have been replaced with the new CCTV, serious attacks have been stopped completely, and no one's life is being put in jeopardy."

Faulconbridge also cites another example to show how safety issues can be addressed.

"On a different site, prior to the CCTV, a vagrant would regularly come in at night to sift through the waste stored there - having someone wandering around unsupervised raised real concerns for their safety, especially given the split level nature of the site.

"The last thing we wanted was to find an individual seriously injured or worse because they had an accident. Now verbal warnings can be issued by the RVRC operators to discourage them from coming in in the first place, and if someone does attempt it, and is injured, such a situation will not go unnoticed."

Looking ahead, Crimewatch Systems is looking to expand the monitoring service it provides - not only for its own clients, but also for installers who do not have this capability.

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