Integrated custody suite security at Cleveland

Cleveland Police has unveiled a new integrated security system for its recently-opened custody suite in Hartlepool.

Jul 16, 2009
By Paul Jacques

Cleveland Police has unveiled a new integrated security system for its recently-opened custody suite in Hartlepool.

“A custody suite places demands on systems which are very different from most security applications,” said Denise Bonson, security access control administrator at Cleveland Police headquarters. “It is a fast and frenetic atmosphere with the staff at the charge desk handling calls, requests, alerts, alarms, controlling points of entry and exit with the distraction of a potentially volatile and hostile environment.

“We therefore needed a security solution which could transparently integrate our access control, intruder alarm, intercom and CCTV, to ensure that we gain maximum benefit from all the individual systems.”

The new system has been provided by software integration specialist Cortech Developments and Vicon, manufacturers of CCTV equipment and high-quality video systems.

Cortech’s Datalog 4 security management software is at the heart of the system. It provides an integrated graphics interface which provides operators with a single routine to interface with the various systems. It includes a facility for an alarm interface with a Vicon CCTV matrix so that images of any incident captured by any of the 50 cameras installed in the custody suite are recorded and stored on Vicon Kollector DVRs.

The frame rate of recordings and the compression method can be programmed to change depending on the type of alarm. For example, if there is an affray, the frame rate can automatically be increased from say three frames per second to 25 frames per second and at the same time the compression type can change from mpeg4 to mjpeg, to maximise the quality of the evidence.

This facility can be programmed per camera and synchronised with audio recordings. Quick playback function helps operators to react to any incident by providing automatic playback of the last 30 seconds of any recording.

A communication link provides automatic camera selection and, when appropriate, controls the movement of pan tilt zoom (PTZ) cameras to pre-set camera positions.

The system is further enhanced with 3D-rendered graphical building and floor plans providing the operator with clear and concise locations for all alarms, intercoms and camera positions.

The cameras are a combination of mini-domes and specialist ‘in cell’ cameras.

“The solution has proved to be highly-effective,” added Ms Bonson. “It allows our operators, with minimal training, to efficiently control the systems employed within their custody suite, enabling them to react to incidents in an organised manner.”

Cortech and Vicon previously worked together on the security systems for Cleveland Police’s two other custody suites in Langbaugh and Middlesborough.

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