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Sony’s surveillance cameras lend a helping hand to the Metropolitan Police Service

CCTV in London

The Metropolitan Police Service is the largest of the police services that operate in greater London. Founded by Sir Robert Peel in 1829, the original establishment of 1,000 officers policed a seven-mile radius from Charing Cross and a population of less than 2 million.

The Metropolitan Police Service now employs 31,000 officers, 14,000 police staff, 414 traffic wardens and 4,000 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) as well as being supported by over 2,500 volunteer police officers in the Metropolitan Special Constabulary (MSC) and its Employer Supported Policing (ESP) programme. The Metropolitan Police Service covers an area of 620 square miles and a population of 7.2 million.

Police in London manage a variety of different threats from protests, to crowd control to fights in busy nightlife areas. However, they often face difficulties monitoring and collecting video evidence in CCTV ‘black spots' - areas of the city that are not effectively monitored by CCTV.

A tool to ensure rapid deployment and issue response

Additionally, conditions in London's busy, winding streets further complicate the monitoring process further. Yet police in Westminster recognised the value of effective CCTV surveillance, especially when targeting repeat offenders. CCTV had been instrumental in the successful prosecution of criminals in a number of London cases. The lack of decent CCTV images and, in some cases, any images at all, was limiting the ability to prosecute offenders in the city.

Keen to use the latest technology to improve surveillance in central London, police in Westminster decided that a mobile unit would be most effective for rapid deployment and issue response. Not only would it be a powerful tool for responding to emergencies and for gathering the evidence needed for effective prosecution, it would act as a visual deterrent for would-be criminals and a reassuring police presence for the public.

Sony's megapixel camera infrastructure

The Metropolitan Police Service often faced difficulties monitoring and collecting video evidence in CCTV ‘black spots'

Partnering with Sony, Westminster Police sought to create a tailored mobile CCTV unit. Sony's industry expertise was critical when reviewing the products on the market and integration opportunities with key players in the space. Sony also provided post sales support for the adoption and effective use of the van. Sony proposed a megapixel camera infrastructure based on an IP network. By using extremely high-quality, megapixel cameras police in Westminster would be able to obtain the images that they required for effective prosecution, while an IP network would make it simple for the police to store and access the images.

A combination of cameras was selected to monitor both the perimeter of the van and areas further away. Significantly, the use of Sony's SNC-RX570P/Outdoor PTZ camera allows CCTV operators to monitor activity.

...making it even easier to prosecute criminals

To meet the precise recording requirements of police in Westminster, specialist Sony technicians installed the cameras and the supporting Realshot Manager (RSM) software critical for the content management.

It is ultimately the camera quality that has enabled Westminster Police to dramatically improve surveillance. The six megapixel cameras provide a superior resolution at 1280 X 960 pixels that make it much easier to identify and successfully prosecute criminals, while the IP format enables the police to record data directly to the servers in the van. By using Sony's RSM software, the police can record evidential quality content that can be easily downloaded to USB or DVD and passed onto the relevant department for closer examination and, ultimately, prosecution.

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