Ensuring a building or large area is secure often falls on the shoulders of the facilities manager. Indeed, research conducted by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) showed that facilities managers play a vital role in the security of their business, with over 70% of companies surveyed often depending upon them to make essential procurement decisions.
As such, there is a huge responsibility to get security right. Different types of security measures are required in different areas, to protect locations with varying degrees of vulnerability to crime. Getting this balance right is vitally important, and an undertaking that should be approached with the utmost consideration to the specific needs of each individual facility. Here, Alessia Vinerba of the BSIA explores some of the different methods to help aid your decisions when deciding on the level and type of security at your facility, and takes a look at the value of both electronic and manned security solutions.
As has been proven over the years, CCTV can be an extremely efficient form of security protection. Cameras strategically placed around a site can provide a thorough coverage of large areas. CCTV can significantly alter the way in which security is provided, and is adaptable enough to be used in a range of different locations, as well as having several different ways of deployment. This could be from continuously monitoring one single area, to covering several locations, or even tracking movement on site. CCTV is also an excellent way of providing a deterrent to would be criminals.
If you are protecting a large-scale area that will require multiple screens to be monitored at once, there are ways to be as efficient as possible. Recent advances in technology mean you could streamline this process by employing motion sensors for the CCTV, which would mean the cameras only start rolling when movement has been detected, and security would not have to constantly record every image each camera is filming in the same area.
Video content analysis
Taking this one step further, Video Content Analysis (VCA) is an intelligent form of security used in securing large areas that are difficult to patrol and pose a challenge. VCA is the automatic analysis of CCTV images that create useful information about the content. The scope of VCA is very impressive and expands all the time, for example it can now be applied for external and internal intruder detection; the monitoring of buildings for health and safety; people counting; automatic event and incident detection; safety enhancements for public areas; smoke and fire detection and camera failure or sabotage detection.
The theory behind it means any ‘behaviour’ that can be seen and accurately defined on a video image can be automatically identified and an appropriate alert raised. This intelligent approach, with attention focused on the most relevant CCTV footage, has the potential to allow for resources to be allocated more effectively and action to be taken before incidents have a chance to escalate to a more serious level.
Access control systems can range from paper-based logging systems for temporary contractors’ permits through to access control cards using radio frequency identification (RFID) chips for more convenient proximity reading of card details and activation of gates, turnstiles and vehicle barriers. Effective security technology that’s both effective and easy to use is a feature of ‘smart’ access control systems. These systems can be useful when logging who has been on and off site, as well as showing which areas of the facility have been visited. Of course, from a health and safety perspective, should there be a need to evacuate, access control can also tell you who is where, and if everyone is accounted for. Access control systems can operate with the minimal amount of human involvement, and can control access to vehicles as well as doors and entry points within an area. There is also the scope to render certain areas ‘off limits’ to individuals without sufficient clearance, and can be an effective method of recording data of movements in the event of a theft or other incident. Integrating access control with CCTV is another useful way of maximising the technology, as you could record the physical image of each person entering a key card location, to ensure the correct person has the correct key, and prevent any abuse of the system.
While security technology can put businesses at an advantage when countering theft, vandalism and arson, in some settings, a physical security presence is required. Employing staff to keep premises secure has long been a favourite security solution. Adaptable, able to react quickly and think on their feet, the benefits of providing a human element to your security solution should not be underestimated.
Security patrols by foot or by vehicle are fundamental when responding to intruder detection and also give a highly visible security presence. The feeling of security for any on site visitors and staff is also enhanced by the presence of security officers manning access points and by security guards carrying out random patrols both in buildings and perimeter areas of the facility. Security patrols are often responsible for managing technological aspects of a site’s security solutions, such as CCTV or access control. They can be an expensive form of security, but the ability to react quickly to developing situations as well as their obvious deterrent to potential intruders mean they are well worth the cost, should there be deemed enough of a benefit to having them.
Ensuring that the standard of the workforce is high and that you take on quality members of staff is an important consideration. As the role of the private security industry becomes more important, the need to improve standards of quality and professionalism is paramount. For this reason the Security Industry Authority was set up, licensing people who work in certain sectors of the security industry.
The need for a licence is determined by the role that is performed by the security officer, and the activity that is undertaken. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, licences are currently required for Cash in Transit, Close Protection, Door Supervision, Key Holding, Public Space Surveillance CCTV, Security Guarding and Vehicle Immobilisation roles within a private security company. In Scotland, all the roles above require licences apart from Vehicle Immobilisation.
There are also various conditions that must be met before the awarding of an SIA licence, which lasts for three years. For example, front line security operatives need to be over 18, pass an identity and criminality check, and show that their skills and knowledge meet nationally recognised standards. This means that individuals are required to undertake specific training, unless applying for a Key Holder license or being an Armed forces leaver who has undertaken similar training in the relevant Career Transition Programme course.
Fully trained operatives can form a highly effective layer of security for your facility. However, the prospect of integrating both electronic security systems and manned security is certainly something you should consider.
Utilising all the benefits of the electronic systems and advances in technology, and combining them with highly trained security staff able to make informed decisions, and decide what course of action is necessary in the case of an emergency, is an entirely comprehensive way of providing security.
CCTV cameras can be monitored- and directed via a control centre, whilst manned patrols can be sent to any incident in real time, and adapt to any changes in the situation utilising this technology. Access control can be instantly utilised to lock down areas strategically in accordance with security protocols, and vehicular access can be restricted or granted through interaction with drivers, should it be necessary. Interaction with the public and on site visitors or workers should not be underestimated either, with the human element vital in providing reassurance that they are in a secure location.
Making sure it’s the right security
So, with research demonstrating that facilities personnel play a pivotal role in the security of businesses, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the different types of security solutions available when having to make this kind of decision- and how they can benefit their business. Integrated security systems are ever increasing in popularity and are successful in ensuring an efficient and effective level of protection is delivered to each business.
And there is choice too. There are so many security providers on the market, which makes picking the right one a challenge for any facilities manager. It is increasingly important to recognise the significance of picking a quality supplier. All BSIA member companies adhere to strict quality standards. Details can be found on the BSIA’s website, www.bsia.co.uk. Be sure though, to make an informed decision when choosing how to secure your facility. Integrated approaches can save time, money, and in some instances, lives themselves.
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