Glasgow tackles security

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Glasgow Community & Safety Services (GCSS), is an organisation that aims to prevent crime, tackle antisocial behaviour and promote community safety in the Scottish city. Key to its success has been a cross–technology security infrastructure solution based on the V–TAS Pro Integrated Security Application Platform from i–COMPLY.

Based around three key sites–a public space CCTV Control Room, an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), and a Dispatch Centre, GCSS provides public space surveillance monitoring, combined with remote CCTV and alarm supervision of facilities in and around Glasgow's city centre. The ARC and Dispatch Centre monitor more than 1, 000 alarm and CCTV equipped premises across the city, via a network of over 300 cameras. From council premises, to museums, schools and private company buildings, members of the team can be dispatched to investigate anything from lights left on, to alarm activations, graffiti, insecure premises and break–ins. Along with a secure key holding capability and scheduled mobile patrols, trained security team members can be at attendance on sites within minutes of an alarm or detected incident; providing both a measured response to major incidents, or comprehensive reporting of minor ones. Monitoring 400 public space cameras throughout the city, GCSS's public space control room is integral to providing a safe city centre for both visitors and residents. Key to a comprehensive overview of the city, the facility has proved a vital tool in the security of Glasgow. Skilled operators target specific areas, such as retail areas through the day, and switch to Glasgow's popular bars and clubs when the city shifts into the nighttime economy. Providing such a diverse service to a multitude of customers across the city, in addition to monitoring public areas through the large CCTV network, presents a complicated administrative task for GCSS management, as Walter Kean, head of facilities explained: "Collating the huge amount of data we generate every day via a paper–based system would provide us with serious issues. The combination of our mobile patrols, site security and key holding operations alone yield so much information to process that not only would the system soon become unmanageable, but we wouldn't be able to use the information in any effective way. Combine this with further information on incident locations and clusters, wanted individuals, and the detailed coverage of incidents we see via over 400 public space CCTV cameras, and it becomes clear that effective information, focused reporting and asset management is key to our success as a public service – and a business. "As GCSS developed over the years, it was evident to Kean and his management team, that an effective IT solution was key to the future development of the services they provide. "Having worked with i–COMPLY before, we approached them with a view to employing their latest V–TAS Pro Integrated Security Application Platform as a cross–technology security infrastructure solution. This would serve as a central command, control, recording and reporting building block, " explained Kean. "Throughout a period of comprehensive technical liaison with i–COMPLY, we established exactly what we required from the system, including our priorities for the reporting and distribution of this information, and importantly, to the people who need it. "It was very important for us to work with a supplier who would listen to our operational issues and had the capabilities to supply a technical solution that would really work for us. Too many suppliers are keen to steer customers towards their proprietary generic products, without satisfactorily addressing the original issues on site. With i–COMPLY, we were able to enjoy the benefits of an industry proven core product in their V–TAS Pro Integrated Security Application Platform. The solution directly addresses the individual issues that are unique to our service, via a comprehensive range of 'bolt on' modules i–COMPLY have to offer. We had a large amount of existing infrastructure, the investment into which we didn't want to simply discard. Using i–COMPLY technology, we were able to maximise the original analogue and digital equipment investment made by the council. "The V–TAS Pro Integrated Security Application Platform and its shared centralised database now provides all three GCSS sites with detailed reporting on incidents. In addition, i–COMPLY 'bolt on' modules provide tailored functionality for vehicle and people tracking, dispatch logs, incident reports, performance reports, key holder management, and asset tracking. In the Public Space CCTV control room, V–TAS provides operators and managers with highly–effective and fully–integrated 'back office' management tool. V–TAS's comprehensive range of features affords in–depth control over the control room's operational and legislative environment – helping to ensure a correct response to each and every incident monitored. The powerful software management tool produces detailed performance reports, in addition to documented evidential audit trails, to assist with effective prosecution evidence. The daily benefits of which are translated into the smooth running of the CCTV control room, where it supplies long–term documentary assessments of its performance and effectiveness, as Ross MacPhail, CCTV Information & Support Officer explains: "We extract a variety of reports from V–TAS on a daily basis, each one sent to the relevant recipient quickly and easily. The real beauty of V–TAS reporting is that we can extract and report exactly the right information needed for the purpose–without leaving anything out, and without including peripheral information that a recipient doesn't need. This affords succinct reports that are packed with easy–to–understand information. "Daily intelligence reports are gathered from the public space camera network, detailing all incidents that have occurred in the last 24–hours. These are sent to the police, local authority teams, the anti–violence reduction task force, and individual high–level police officers–each using the information for the benefit of their individual teams and areas of responsibility. Community groups are sent information on the level of camera usage in their area, helping them to understand what the CCTV cameras are doing for their community day–to–day, and reinforcing our position as a service provider. "In the Dispatch Centre, i–COMPLY's integration capability has afforded instant operator overviews of any situation. This enables the maximum supply of information, allowing operators to provide a measured and appropriate response to any incident. With one simple and intuitive route to all system functionality, operators can instantly track the position of each of the fleet of security cars – wherever they are in the city. Interfacing with Tom–Tom GPS navigation systems fitted on each council vehicle, operators are presented (via V–TAS) with a live map display of the location of each car. This facilitates any alarm activation or reported incident to be dealt with quickly, allowing the operator to despatch the nearest patrol to a location. "The visual display of each of our teams' location is by far the best way to track each unit, " added Kean. "It allows our operators to make informed and effective decisions about which unit should respond–all via the intuitive V–TAS interface. " Through the same interface, Dispatch Centre operators can also access live video from CCTV cameras mounted on each vehicle. Also incorporated into the V–TAS system at Glasgow is i–COMPLY's Key and Asset Control module.

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