CCTV systems can be installed so they’re trained on theft-attractive items like vehicles or high-value products. This helps deter thieves – but CCTV can have other possible uses. For instance, facilitating and monitoring crowd control at an entertainment venue, or health and safety practices within a factory or similar high-risk environment, or can be used to detect smoke or escape of water.
Key actions for the installation and maintenance of effective CCTV systems
- Decide what you need the system to do, before making any purchases:
- A simple recordable system may be all you need, if your main concern is business hours incidents. This will let a member of staff (e.g. receptionist or shop assistant) monitor activities at the premises. It also provides a recorded image to review any incidents.
- For out-of-hours protection, a more complex system including features like motion detection and audible warnings may be required. These should be installed and maintained by a company accredited by the or .
- Check the quality of the images the cameras can provide is good enough for your needs, especially during the night. If the system is reliant on artificial light, such as floodlighting, check them regularly to prevent damage and breakdown.
- If you have a motion detection system that relays images to a remote video response centre (RVRC), the centre needs to be accredited by the NSI or SSAIB. The system should be installed to the latest version of British Standard 8418 ‘Installation and remote monitoring of detection activated CCTV systems – Code of Practice’, so it will be eligible for a unique reference number from the police. Authorised RVRCs can:
- sound an audible warning at the site being monitored via a loud speaker; and/or
- inform key holders and, if a crime is taking place, the police.
- Regardless of the complexity of the system to be installed, make sure the number and positioning of cameras are sufficient for your premises, taking into account how your site may change over a year (e.g. vegetation growth could obscure its view).
- Establish the maximum amount of time any remotely monitored systems transmitting images through to an RVRC would take to recognise a fault in the sending and/or receiving of information and notify the RVRC.
- Typically, an IP (internet protocol) connection will be used, but there may also be a secondary ‘back up’ connection too – sometimes using GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) technology.
- Consider whether the system can detect other faults within the system, e.g. if a camera has been tampered with or had its positioning changed, or if there is a power cut or failure of communications between the cameras and the control panel.
- Check what needs to be in place for your CCTV system to comply with data protection legislation.
- Decide if you are to have any local monitoring by on-site security personnel and check any agency or contract security officers are appropriately licensed by the Security Industry Authority (SIA).
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CCTV may help with the management of various risk topics and it could be used in conjunction with other safety and security measures, depending on the situation.