Published on 16 Mar, 2009
| Interior of specialised football command vehicle|
The extremely capable Football Command Vehicle (FCV), now in operation with West Midlands Police's Queen's Road Operational Command Unit (OCU), has proved to be a significant force multiplier, allowing the effective coverage of areas adjacent to a football ground on match days and, crucially, providing a high visibility presence to deter potential troublemakers.
Traffic Safety Systems Ltd (TSS) - part of AD Group - has been responsible not only for fitting out the vehicle, but also providing ongoing training and support to officers at West Midlands Police. With a number of CCTV cameras, including a mast-mounted unit, microphones and a built-in control room, the FCV ensures that the police can readily monitor crowds by providing a detailed all-round view of those coming towards and leaving a ground and, in association with football intelligence officers, the locating and tracking of known troublemakers at the earliest possible stage.
Being mobile means that the FCV can be deployed, rapidly, to specific hotspots such as points where rival fans are liable to cross and adjacent to public houses where fans may congregate in the lead-up to a game. Careful positioning of the TSS-equipped vehicle, in conjunction with a small team of police officers on the ground, has the potential to effectively maintain the dynamics of a large crowd, in the vicinity of a stadium, by moving or splitting sections of fans so they are steered in the required direction so preventing dangerous bottlenecks and potential clashes from developing.
A spokesperson for West Midlands Police commented: "The solution provided by TSS has proved to be extremely effective for us at key venues such as Villa Park.
|"The evidence gathered by the FCV's on-board PatrolVu CCTV system facilitates the issuing of informed command decisions" |
Typically, the police commander for a game will work out of the FCV in the lead-up to kick-off and then move to the stadium's CCTV control room during the match itself, and then re-deploy to the FCV to ensure that fans have been dispersed effectively at the end of the match.
"The evidence gathered by the FCV's on-board PatrolVu CCTV system facilitates the issuing of informed command decisions in a timely fashion to maintain public order. It also helps commanders to decide whether additional officers need to be deployed; allows images to be shared with the football ground's own CCTV control room and, where necessary, to coordinate the arrests of suspects and to secure subsequent convictions.
"Since its deployment evidence from the FCV has been used routinely to assist in cases. Additionally, I am confident that the deployment of this highly conspicuous vehicle acts as a powerful deterrent to others who may be considering engaging in violence and disorder."
Ron Coleman at Traffic Safety Systems is delighted with the positive experience of West Midlands Police in deploying the PatrolVu equipped Football Command Vehicle (FCV): "Being responsible for the safety and security of thousands of football fans is a key test for any police force, it is therefore pleasing to see the positive impact that the Football Command Vehicle has had on the work of West Midlands Police.
In particular, our latest, user-friendly, PatrolVu mobile digital CCTV system removes the tape management issues associated with the older CCTV technology and the NetVu ObserVer video management software supports the easy selection of image sequences, or book marked incidents, for review and downloading from the unit's hard disk drive."
|"It is pleasing to see the positive impact that the Football Command Vehicle has had on the work of the Police "|