Since upgrading to a new borough-wide surveillance solution from Synectics, operators based in Ealing Council’s new Public Safety CCTV Control Centre have doubled detection rates ‒ the team now logs over 11,000 incidents of criminal or anti-social activity a year. According to CCTV Manager Oliver Martin, the dramatic increase is down to a valuable feature: being able to customise their Synergy 3 command and control platform.
“When it comes to incident management,” said Oliver, “we’ve basically been able to write our own rule book. That’s helped us work more efficiently so that we can detect more issues, more quickly, and report on them to council teams and law enforcement in greater detail. What we commissioned was a Synectics solution – what we got was an Ealing solution.”
System consolidation to kick-start change
Ealing is one of London’s largest boroughs. Surveillance operators have to monitor footage 24/7 from around 650 cameras as part of the council’s Safer Communities program, as well as to support the borough’s police force. The team also provides invaluable assistance to services including environmental crime prevention, parking, transport, parks, ward forums, and housing.
With such a large geographical area to protect, and diverse range of stakeholders to serve, the council decided to review its surveillance system to see how an upgrade might help maximise existing assets and generate efficiencies, while also enhancing incident detection and reaction capabilities. One immediate opportunity was to consolidate existing surveillance systems into a single solution.
Oliver said: “We’d previously used two separate systems to record footage from public-space cameras and to control those cameras – it was an inefficient patchwork involving unnecessary middleware and encoding. Crucially, it was also a setup that was holding us back in terms of true end-to-end incident management.
“Public-space surveillance is about much more than looking at cameras. We wanted to be able to identify and respond to events more rapidly, but also have a detailed digital audit trail of every action taken, from the moment of detection through to the final outcome – a trail that could be easily interrogated to surface up any and all useful information to help improve public safety and services.
“We did our homework and for us, the only solution that made real sense in terms of the integration, analysis, and reporting capabilities we needed, was Synergy 3.”
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