An improved digital video surveillance system delivers efficiencies and saves costs for North Wales Police
A key investment in the installation of advanced digital video equipment is generating rapid investment returns even within the first year of operation for North Wales Police Authority. The new digital video surveillance system has been provided by Veracity UK Ltd in co-operation CCTV Services Ltd for North Wales Police.
North Wales Police were looking for an advanced IP solution to provide them with more functionality and flexibility to replace the existing Maxpro system in their Joint Communications Centre in St. Asaph and also in their Strategic Co-Ordination Centre in a separate location. The new system avoids the very high cost of additional BT fibre links.
The system integrates Instek MatriVideo recorders and Instek Command Centre monitoring and control workstations into their surveillance network. With assistance from Veracity, CCTV Services Ltd developed bespoke software for intelligent display of live and recorded video images across the control room operators’ desktop monitors, exploiting the powerful Instek SDK (Software Development Kit) designed for third party integration.
The system, installed by Bangor-based security systems integrator CCTV Services Ltd, now forms the heart of North Wales Police’s new digital video surveillance structure.
Moving to the new digital solution has enabled the force to dispense with expensive fibre optic leased lines which they previously relied on to transmit CCTV video from the local authority control rooms to the central control room at a cost of £30,000 per year.
The Instek video surveillance equipment provides North Wales Police’s control room operators with images from more than 400 fixed cameras based in the town and city centres from Pwllheli in the western end of the Llyn Peninsula to Wrexham on the border with England to the east. North Wales Police Authority covers the six counties of North Wales: Gwynedd, Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham, with a total population of 675,143.
CCTV Services Ltd installed Axis encoders to convert analogue images from the local authority CCTV cameras coming in from all six local authority control rooms into the Instek NVRs (network video recorders). The installer also built bespoke software which it calls single panel player. This software was easily integrated with the Instek recorders using Instek’s SDK.
Mike Harrison-Jones, director, CCTV Services, explained:
“The concept follows exactly what police control room staff were asking for. They needed the facility to follow fast moving live events by tracking activity from camera to camera as these offer vital clues as to the identity and motivation of the people involved.”
The system’s benefits have recently been extended to North Wales Police’s ‘Air Ops’ headquarters in Rhuddlan.When the Air Ops team is requested to send a helicopter to assist with an incident, the new system will allow them to directly access images from ground-based CCTV cameras in the area, increasing their operational effectiveness.
Mike Harrison-Jones, again:
“In this way Air Ops staff will be able to determine if it is safe to fly into a particular area. If local visibility is poor it becomes impossible for helicopter pilots to carry out surveillance. By having very specific local visibility information, Air Ops can avoid costs of up to £1,000 from needlessly putting the helicopter in the air which would otherwise have had to return to base having failed to complete the assigned task. Thus Air Ops’ ability to get very specific local visibility will save costs and greatly aid efficiency.”
North Wales Police will also be able to support police officers on the ground in cases of serious incidents by using the high-definition surveillance camera on its helicopter ‘NW01’. Radio equipment is being fitted to receive video images from the police helicopter camera down to one of a number of police aerial masts across the region and from there into the police authority’s central control room. Analysis of recordings alongside live views will provide vital evidence to help direct resources on the ground as incidents unfold.
The first full pilot of the aerial surveillance, or ‘heli-telly’ as it is affectionately known, was carried out to track the progress of the Olympic flame as it was carried along the coastline of North Wales. This was extremely successful and proved the worth of the system.
Chief Superintendant Simon Humphreys of North Wales Police Operational Support Services, added:
“Delivering surveillance image views to the control room operators desks and simultaneously cutting otherwise massive data communications bills has made this a win-win for us. The fact that it’s now a fully digital system makes it easy to send selected still images from the helicopter’s camera right down to our officers’ smart phones on the ground. It’s already a great system, but we haven’t even seen all the benefits yet.”
Kingsley Greenman at Veracity UK Limited, explained:
“Our Instek MatriVideo system provided a perfect fit for this application, not only because of the broad range of products available, but also because of the powerful SDK we were able to provide to CCTV Services, enabling them to deliver a completely flexible and dynamic solution. Veracity is looking forward to assisting CCTV Services with the next stage of transmission, storage and display system expansion for North Wales Police as it deployed force-wide”.
Veracity UK Ltd designs and develops IP video transmission, storage and display solutions to support the high-definition video surveillance market. Veracity is also the long-term technical development partner and exclusive distributor of Instek Digital enterprise video management systems in the UK and Ireland.