Security Focus: A new era for CCTV

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There is now little excuse for pubs and bars not to have CCTV systems that are of a high enough quality not only to deter violent and anti-social...

There is now little excuse for pubs and bars not to have CCTV systems that are of a high enough quality not only to deter violent and anti-social behaviour but, if it does happen, also make sure the culprits are identified and successfully prosecuted, even in late-night low-lit environments.

The world of security and surveillance has changed dramatically over the last few years and the options available to users are more sophisticated than ever. Although a very useful deterrent, CCTV is no longer a tool to simply passively monitor people - it can be an active tool for security, training and marketing purposes.

Recent improvements in CCTV quality and system operation have been led by the casino industry - in a high value, low lit environment it is essential that casinos have perfect imagery to stop cheating on the gaming floor.

The latest digital equipment is easy to install, relatively cheap and makes dark, foggy picture quality a thing of the past. Pub operators are seeing the benefits for staff and customers alike and are increasingly investing in an upgrade to their systems.

Cameras are now able to run at a higher frame rate because of the low costs of memory, and in dark conditions low level black and white infra-red cameras are used with built-in LEDs to flood the area with infra-red light.

Although it's invisible to the human eye, infra-red lights up customers and staff and is perfect for scanning a dark area such as a bar or dance floor.

Along with the possibility of better quality imagery, cameras now have audio functions that can be used when necessary at the discretion of staff.

Verbal abuse to staff has rocketed in recent years and can be just as damaging as physical abuse. If staff are being threatened, a button under the desk can be pressed that turns on the audio and also alerts security, so all aspects of an incident can be monitored giving a complete picture of what's happened.

And although it's customer safety that's of the utmost importance for publicans, staff collusion and theft has become another pressing issue.

Data-mining and integrating CCTV with till activity is now imperative for improving the bottom line. If a manager is concerned about a till being down, or the possibility of staff giving away free drinks, they can enable the till input to be relayed over the CCTV so drinks orders can be monitored and correlated. Then they can see if what staff are giving the customers is the same as what was run through the till.

CCTV images of this and incidents of anti-social behaviour are also useful for training purposes. Staff can be shown real-life incidents, and trainers can demonstrate how to - and how not to - tackle certain situations.

Alex Vincent is marketing manager at CCTV and security company ID Technology Group, the largest installer in the casino and leisure industry which offers a consultative approach to organisations aiming to maximise their commercial security.

For more information call 0161 654 3777 or email

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