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WEST LONDON SECURITY Versatile Surveillance For A Multipurpose Building

Built on the site of the old library which has been refurbished, the building was expanded to become an impressive local hub, opening its doors in November 2007. With its year anniversary just gone and the centre now embedded into the local community, we look at the challenges faced in making sure the staff, public and building are kept secure and safe and how this was accomplished.

To project manage the construction Scott Parson was contracted on behalf on Greenwich Council. Liaising with Scott, West London Security successfully won the tender to install the security using an IP Panasonic i-Pro system. Headed by George Rohan, whose 15 years of surveillance experience told him where system coverage would need to be placed as a priority, West London Security used their in-depth product knowledge to provide Scott with a technical solution that perfectly met the Centre ’s needs.

During installation, West London Security had to take into account how the building was going to be used by the public.  With so many different uses such as the library, citizen ’s advice bureau, gym, café and car park, the types of cameras required, the positioning and what they would be used for were different for each area. Eltham Centre ’s operational manager, Caroline Abrams explains, “During the planning stages the project did change and develop so the usage of the building changed and thus the initial specification for the surveillance system had to be adapted to meet these changes.” With such a versatile building it meant that once the Centre was open, they found the need to tweak the position or add cameras which WLS was able to amend quickly and were assisted by the use of the IP system so there was no need or additional cabling.

A key requirement for the Centre was to have several different monitoring stations. The leisure facilities are managed by GLL and thus they required their own monitoring and the additional monitoring stations were located at the main reception, the management office and in individual cash rooms.

The whole system is networked so that the Centre’s management can control coverage of all the cameras, but the access to the system is partitioned so that each area can only manage and control their own cameras. Each access is also recorded differently, for example the centre ’s management has a time lapse whereas for the council service desks one of the major benefits of the new system was the real time recording and immediate playback capability. This is especially important in the disputes over change. Rohan explains, “If for instance a member of the public at the council services complains they gave in a £20 note and the clerk only gave them change for a £10 note, having the system means that staff can go to their screen in the office and rewind the footage live right there in front of the person to end the dispute. This is enabled as the recording is all done in MPEG4 and at 25ips real time so it shows huge benefits. ”In addition, the monitoring in the cash office also provides protection for staff, as it enables them to view the camera located in the back corridor leading to the office.

In terms of how the cameras would be used, it differs at different times of the day. During the day the main reception can be looking at the entrance, whereas the night security may want to monitor cameras on the perimeter of the building. The different areas are also open at varying times of the day, with the council service, citizen ’s advice and library all closed whilst GLL’s leisure facilities are still open.

The system has already proved its worth and has recently been used to identify an offender of persistent anti-social behaviour. The Centre ’s management worked closely with the local police to provide them with clear images of the offender.

Using a structured cable Ethernet backbone WLS were able to utilise IP technology to consolidate all the different systems including both surveillance and access control. In addition Greenwich Council can reduce costs for if further systems need to be added; another Centre is being built in Woolwich Arsenal and could potentially make full use of the IP system by linking the two surveillance systems together and having one central monitoring point.

With a forward thinking attitude and determination to continually improve services for residents, Greenwich Borough Council is making full advantage of the benefits of IP surveillance technology with the Eltham Centre.


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