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Remote Monitoring technology: Tackling South Africa’s cable theft problem
Remote Monitoring technology: Tackling South Africa’s cable theft problem

For decades, cable theft has caused disruption to infrastructure across South Africa, and an issue that permeates the whole supply chain. Here, Ian Loudon, international sales and marketing manager at remote monitoring specialist Omniflex, explains how new cable-alarm technology is making life difficult for criminals and giving hope to businesses. In November 2020, Nasdaq reported that, “When South Africa shut large parts of its economy and transport network during its COVID-19 lockdown, organised, sometimes armed, gangs moved into its crumbling stations to steal the valuable copper from the lines. Now, more than two months after that lockdown ended, the commuter rail system, relied on by millions of commuters, is barely operational.” Private security firm Despite this most recent incident, cable theft is not a new phenomenon to sweep South Africa Despite this most recent incident, cable theft is not a new phenomenon to sweep South Africa. In 2001, SABC TV broadcast a story following two members of a private security firm working for Telkom, a major telecoms provider. In the segment, the two guards, working in Amanzimtoti on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal, head out to investigate a nearby alarm that has been triggered. They reach a telecoms cabinet and discover that it has been compromised, with the copper cable cut and telephone handsets strewn across the ground. In the dark, they continue to search the area when one of the guards discovers the problem: 500 metres of copper wire has been ripped out. In their haste, the thieves have dropped their loot and fled. Widespread cable theft Had they managed to get away, they would have melted the cable to remove the plastic insulation and sold the copper to a local scrap dealer for around 900 Rand, about $50 US dollars. For the company whose infrastructure has been compromised, it may cost ten times that amount to replace and repair the critical infrastructure. The disappointing takeaway from this story is that two decades on from this incident the country still faces widespread cable theft, whether it’s copper cables from mines, pipelines, railways, telecoms or electrical utilities. In fact, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimates that cable theft costs the economy between R5–7 billion a year. The answer to the problem must go further than the existing measures used by companies. Detect power failure Most businesses already invest in CCTV, fences, barriers and even patrol guards, but this is not enough. Take the mining sector, for example. These sites can be vast, spanning dozens of kilometres - it’s simply not cost effective to install enough fences or employ enough guards or camera operators. As monitoring technology gets better, the company has seen site managers increasingly use cable alarms in recent years that detect when a power failure occurs. The idea is that, if one can detect a power failure, they can detect whether the cable has been cut The idea is that, if one can detect a power failure, they can detect whether the cable has been cut. The problem is though: how does one distinguish the difference between a situation where a cable has been cut intentionally and a genuine power outage? Power outages in South Africa are an ongoing problem, with the country contending with an energy deficit since late 2005, leading to around 6,000 MW of power cuts in 2019. Remote terminal units Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the company that generates around 95 per cent of South Africa’s power has already warned of further blackouts as the company works to carry out repairs to its power plants. According to a statement on the company’s website, “Eskom spends in the region of R2 billion a year replacing stolen copper cables." The result is that criminals take advantage of the gaps in power to steal cable, timing their robberies to coincide with the published load shedding schedules. The basic alarms used to detect power outage won’t recognise the theft because they register a false-positive during a power cut. By the time the power comes back on, the deed has been done and the criminals have gotten away with the cable. The good news is that recent breakthroughs in cable monitoring technology are helping tackle just this problem. New alarms on the market now combine sophisticated GSM-based monitoring systems that use battery powered remote terminal units. Legitimate supply chain Unlike the basic alarms that look for the presence or absence of power, these new systems monitor whether the cable circuit is in an open or closed state. In the event of a power outage, the unit continues to run on battery power and can detect if a cable has been cut, sending a priority SMS alert to the site manager immediately, giving them a fighting chance to prevent a robbery in progress. Beyond the opportunistic theft carried out by petty criminals, the theft of copper cables forms a wider problem Beyond the opportunistic theft carried out by petty criminals, the theft of copper cables forms a wider problem across the supply chain in South Africa. In recent years, the combination of unscrupulous scrap dealers, the alleged involvement of large scrap processing companies and lax penalties meant that much of the stolen copper ended up back in the legitimate supply chain. However, recent changes in the law have sought to take a tougher stance on copper theft. Alarm monitoring technology According to the Western Cape Government, “The Criminal Matters Amendment Act, regulates bail and imposes minimum offences for essential infrastructure-related offences." The act, which came into effect in 2018, recommends sentencing for cable theft, with the minimum sentence for first-time offenders being three years and for those who are involved in instigating or causing damage to infrastructure, the maximum sentence is thirty years. It seems to be working too. In January 2021, the South African reported that a Johannesburg man was sentenced to eight years behind bars for cable theft in Turffontein. While the longer-term outlook is a positive one for industry, the best advice for businesses seeking to alleviate the problem of cable theft in the immediate future is to invest in the latest cable-theft alarm monitoring technology to tackle the problem and make life difficult for criminals.

Key considerations for robust residential security
Key considerations for robust residential security

In the UK, one burglary occurs every 106 seconds. This means by the time you've finished reading this article, at least three will have taken place. Selecting robust physical security options to protect property boundaries and homes is essential to limit crime rates and deter opportunistic intruders. With 58% of burglaries said to take place while the homeowner is in, it seems that even the second wave of lockdowns, and an increased number of people confined to their homes, won't do much to eliminate the risk of burglary. Prioritise security for peace of mind Security is paramount, and in the case of new build projects, should be considered from the very beginning of the design process, not as an afterthought. When it comes to securing pre-existing buildings, there are countless security options which will ensure the perimeter is robust enough to withstand opportunistic attacks. It's also worth noting that security features don't have to be complicated. There are plenty of high-tech digital systems flooding the market, which can go a long way to reduce the risk of burglary and will provide peace of mind to the end user. However, this article will demonstrate how traditional security measures, such as high-quality perimeter fencing, can ensure practical safeguarding of properties for years to come.  Selecting robust physical security options to protect property boundaries and homes is essential to limit crime rates Timber! There are a number of different materials which can be specified to create a strong boundary. From metal railings, to timber fence panels, they will each help deter criminals somewhat. Wooden fence panels are a popular choice for their appearance, and the right product and installation can help to increase security.Our timber acoustic fencing can also reduce noise by up to 32dB and has a solid face with no hand or footholds, while still retaining the attractive natural timber aesthetic of a typical garden fence. However, maintenance is key, and one of the first thing burglars will notice is the condition a fence is in, rather than a particular style. Therefore, old, broken or rotten fence panels are a green light for opportunistic thieves. These can be easily broken or bypassed with minimal effort. When specifying fences as part of a new build housing development, we would suggest opting for high-quality timber, as this will ensure that it is protected against rot. Look for products with an extended guarantee or those that don't need additional treatment over the years. The condition of the fence should still be regularly inspected, and simple methods such as clearing piles of leaves away from the base of the boundary can help to prevent rot which weakens the timber.  Securing fence panels The recent rising cost of timber has led to a dramatic increase in fence panel theft, and panels that can be lifted from the posts are an easy target. Mitigate this risk by screwing the fence panels into the posts. This makes it much harder for the panels to be removed from the posts and creates a more secure barrier.  Concrete posts do offer benefits, but we always advise on timber posts for any fencing. They're strong, just like concrete, but they continue the same natural theme as the rest of the fence. Moreover, if you screwed the panels to concrete posts, they would most likely crack and become damaged, and then be at risk to the elements.  Astute design Design is also important. Installing fence rails on the inside of properties to prevent them from being used as climbing aids is highly recommended. Even better, using panels without rails on high-end developments is a clever tip if you want a secure fence with a high-spec look. Security features don't have to be complicated High fences with solid panels and no gaps in between make it considerably harder for potential burglars to climb over. They also offer better privacy to conceal rear garden areas from intruders, and are much sturdier than other alternative panels.  One common mistake is designing in features such as trees or children's climbing frames too close to the boundary. These can be used by burglars as climbing aids when attempting to scale the fence, making access easy. Investigate the surrounding area, which flanks the outside of the property boundary, as an unfortunately placed bin or bench can also help criminals gain entry. If the removal of these items is not possible, designing in a spiky bush can help deter intruders. It's also worth noting that gardens with numerous large features such as bushes or sheds can also negatively impact the level of security. A clear line of sight across the entire garden is highly recommended where possible. If this view is blocked, it's considerably easy for intruders to hide undetected. Front gardens  While tall, solid fence panels are recommended for rear gardens to prevent intruders from being able to see in and climb over, the opposite is true for front gardens. For street-facing gardens, a low fence or hedge is recommended to provide a clear view from the house. It also makes it much harder for intruders to hide from passers-by or neighbours, who can raise the alarm during a burglary. Another useful security technique to consider is a gravel drive. These create noise, which means the homeowner will know when it is in use. Pair this with a strong boundary fence, the likelihood of burglary dramatically decreases. This article only scratches the surface in unveiling the sheer volume of effective home security options on offer to protect homes and gardens. These investments can help minimise the risk of traumatic break-ins, while also simultaneously boosting the aesthetic of the property and its surroundings. 

Securing healthcare facilities
Securing healthcare facilities

COVID-19 has sparked a flurry of criminal activity across the country, with a particular increase in petty crimes perpetrated against UK healthcare facilities. Bike theft, slashed ambulance tyres and stolen oxygen canisters are just some of the misdemeanours which have significantly grown in frequency since the coronavirus lockdown began in March 2020.  Given the constant, essential work carried out by health services, it’s clear the utmost must be done to protect its physical assets, and staff, from physical attack. Fundamentally, it’s the responsibility of the facilities managers and specifiers to incorporate and carefully balance physical security strategies around healthcare sites to protect patients, visitors, property and assets. The challenge is that many of these sites are continually increasing in size and complexity to meet the higher demand from the population. Fencing, gates, storage enclosures and access control are part of a solution in securing this service sector to enable it to operate effectively 365 days a year. Effective access control Hospitals are fast-paced environments where life and death outcomes often hang in the balance of only a couple of minutes. Efficient, seamless access is therefore key. All gates and access points around the perimeter must be assessed and considered and these access points should be installed and controlled centrally, or regularly monitored. Fencing, gates, storage enclosures and access control are part of a solution in securing this service sector Consider the types of vehicles that require access; the appropriate solution should ensure that, where necessary, emergency vehicles can get in and out of the site unhindered. Effective design for maximum security If automated gates are specified, underground operators are highly recommended to remove any visible signs of surveillance on display. When designing pedestrian and vehicular access: gates should be DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) compliant. Crucially, the design of fencing and gates must accommodate rapid evacuation and access for emergency services. With regards to the car park, it may require rising arm barriers or bollards to secure it. These solutions control access and separate pedestrians from vehicle traffic whilst protecting different buildings, such as specialist units and emergency wards. Promoting wellness through aesthetics Creating a welcoming environment is a core priority when specifying security options for hospitals. Razor or barbed wire may be effective deterrents to potential trespassers, but they create an intimidating and unwelcoming aesthetic, far removed from the sense of wellbeing these developments should promote. A solution that offers both visual appeal and high levels of security is vertical bar security fencing or welded mesh panels. Both provide strong boundary protection and excellent visibility for surveillance, while offering greater protection than other alternatives. Recreational areas  For areas requiring a 'softer' appearance, such as gardens and outdoor recreational areas, timber fencing is an ideal option. Timber has a natural, welcoming appearance and promotes a sense of wellbeing and privacy. As well as offering a pleasing aesthetic, it can also provide a high level of noise protection. This makes it well suited for acoustic fencing, which can improve recreational and recovery areas by protecting them from high levels of noise, transforming them into little oases of calm ideal for recuperation. Outdoor storage areas Hospitals and other medical facilities produce a large amount of medical waste which requires secure outdoor areas and bin stores to hold hazardous materials on-site before they're taken away. Hospitals have a responsibility to ensure these areas are secured using risk-appropriate fencing to avoid potentially dangerous materials getting into the wrong hands. Risk assessments Creating a welcoming environment is a core priority when specifying security options for hospitals Risk assessments are key to ensuring a risk-appropriate solution is installed. For facilities at risk of criminal activity, products accredited by standards including Secured by Design or the Loss Prevention Standards Board’s LPS 1175 are proven to reduce the likelihood of crime. It’s also best practice to locate storage areas in areas away from climbing aids such as lamp posts or trees. The fence should also be high enough to deter attempts at climbing. There are many effective and easy-to-install options on offer when it comes to specifying security for healthcare infrastructures. It is important that each site is judged individually. Every institution is different and will require a unique plan of security structures to ensure it is safe for all personnel.

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Securing empty premises: Product performance is everything
Securing empty premises: Product performance is everything

Since the start of the pandemic, almost a quarter of UK businesses have been forced to temporarily close, pause trading, or work remotely, with very little notice. Now nearing the 12th month of the crisis, the country is currently enduring its third national lockdown, with an unspecified timeframe. Most workers are being urged to remain at home and only venture out for essential travel. This means a huge number of premises across the board, from recreational venues such as theatres, pubs and leisure centres, to office buildings, and storage facilities, will remain empty. It’s likely that security has been scaled back, so many buildings could be vulnerable to attack for the foreseeable future. Just recently we’ve seen empty pubs in London targeted by opportunistic illegal rave organisers. Physical security strategy Even rural areas aren’t exempt from the problem, as burglars have reportedly targeted beauty salons, etc Even rural areas aren’t exempt from the problem, as burglars have reportedly targeted beauty salons, food stores and vehicle hire premises this winter. Vandalism and burglary remain very real threats, therefore it is vital that facilities managers and property owners ensure the physical security of these empty buildings is maintained to the highest standard to protect property and the assets within. Below we outline key considerations when evaluating a physical security strategy for an empty building. Assess the risk We would urge facilities managers and building owners to carry out regular, thorough checks of the building and the perimeter to assess any obvious factors which would elevate the risk of attack. This includes assessing the location. Is the crime rate high? How visible is the property? Are the contents of the property on show? How secure is the access or perimeter boundary? View the premises from a potential intruder’s perspective, and when you can’t be at the site in person, use photographs, notes and drawings to identify potential weaknesses. For example, there may be high security fencing at the front of the premises, but make sure it is not at risk of being compromised at the back. Conducting regular maintenance Retain and maintain quality Inspecting the fence line may seem obvious and straightforward, but it needs to be a deliberate, scheduled event Conducting regular maintenance is even more essential while premises are left empty, as it is much easier for any issues to appear and escalate undetected. We highly recommend regularly inspecting your fencing for disrepair or damage as this can affect the perimeter’s integrity. Alternatively, choosing high quality galvanised and preferably powder coated steel fencing with a 25-year guarantee will offer longer-lasting protection against rust and corrosion. Inspecting the fence line may seem obvious and straightforward, but it needs to be a deliberate, scheduled event. Take time to check the perimeter on both sides. As you inspect the fencing, keep an eye out for any attempted breaches and note if foliage, weather conditions, or topography changes have affected security integrity. Check all fixtures and fittings are in good working order, look for damage and corrosion, and clear all litter and debris away. Huge security risk Quality investments In a time when businesses are already stretched, it can be tempting to opt for quick, inexpensive fixes. However, poorly executed design or cheap, low quality products can lead to costly, long-term remediation or worse, significant loss to the business. Make wise, informed decisions and specify solutions based on your organisation’s security needs first and foremost. While generic steel palisade is a popular option, owing to its intimidating aesthetic, it is easily compromised. Steel palisade fencing has inherent weaknesses that undermine performance. Its wide pales can obstruct surveillance, while the bolted construction is a huge security risk. Simply removing or breaking the lower fixing on one or two pales would allow them to swing aside to give repeated access to the site without leaving an easily visible sign that the perimeter has been breached. It’s a false economy, as the initial lower price is offset by the costs and inconvenience incurred by regular repairs. Performance classification system The standard works via a performance classification system, and even considers the tools that an intruder may use Specifying a higher quality product that’s fit for purpose makes more sense both in the short and long term, and it adds little to the original cost. Fortunately, there are a number of security accreditations that facilities managers and building owners can refer to when specifying security measures at their site, helping them choose effective solutions to combat the risks the property faces. Proven performance Certifications and approvals, such as The Loss Prevention Certification Board’s (LPCB) LPS 1175 and the British Standards Institution’s (BSI) PAS, prove a product has been thoroughly tested to a specific standard. They prove the strength and durability of the item in multiple different situations. It is worth noting also that investing in effective perimeter protection can actually deliver a positive return by reducing the incidence of burglary and vandalism, and their associated costs. The technical evaluation work carried out by LPCB is extremely thorough. The product is subjected to rigorous quality audit processes, to certify the security products tested by BRE deliver verified levels of protection. All LPS 1175 rated products are vigorously tested before receiving an accreditation. The standard works via a performance classification system, and even considers the tools that an intruder may use. Intrusion detection system Our law enforcement teams are stretched to capacity and coping with reduced workforces due to illness By predicting a likely toolset, specifiers can construct multiple defensive layers to maximise how much time a facility has to respond to an attack. Different levels of security are crucial for the ‘5D defence’ concept, whereby a quintet of security assets work together to prevent access to your site, resulting in a strategy that will: Deter, Detect, Deny, Delay and Defend unwanted access from intruders. 360° security There is no single solution when it comes to securing a building. Every situation must be considered on an individual basis, starting with a full risk assessment. We recommend an integrated approach where appropriate. Along with a secure perimeter, this might also include effective lighting in shaded areas and at doors, gates, and vulnerable windows, Perimeter Intrusion Detection Systems (PIDS) and well-placed CCTV. These measures can hinder entry and escape, or increase the chance of discovery and detection. Domestic burglaries While domestic burglaries have become less attractive as many of our homes are now occupied around the clock, commercial properties have become increasingly more vulnerable. Our law enforcement teams are stretched to capacity and coping with reduced workforces due to isolating and illness. Therefore it has never been so important for building owners and facilities managers to assess the properties they’re responsible for to ensure they’re protected effectively in the event of an attack.

Key considerations for robust residential security
Key considerations for robust residential security

In the UK, one burglary occurs every 106 seconds. This means by the time you've finished reading this article, at least three will have taken place. Selecting robust physical security options to protect property boundaries and homes is essential to limit crime rates and deter opportunistic intruders. With 58% of burglaries said to take place while the homeowner is in, it seems that even the second wave of lockdowns, and an increased number of people confined to their homes, won't do much to eliminate the risk of burglary. Prioritise security for peace of mind Security is paramount, and in the case of new build projects, should be considered from the very beginning of the design process, not as an afterthought. When it comes to securing pre-existing buildings, there are countless security options which will ensure the perimeter is robust enough to withstand opportunistic attacks. It's also worth noting that security features don't have to be complicated. There are plenty of high-tech digital systems flooding the market, which can go a long way to reduce the risk of burglary and will provide peace of mind to the end user. However, this article will demonstrate how traditional security measures, such as high-quality perimeter fencing, can ensure practical safeguarding of properties for years to come.  Selecting robust physical security options to protect property boundaries and homes is essential to limit crime rates Timber! There are a number of different materials which can be specified to create a strong boundary. From metal railings, to timber fence panels, they will each help deter criminals somewhat. Wooden fence panels are a popular choice for their appearance, and the right product and installation can help to increase security.Our timber acoustic fencing can also reduce noise by up to 32dB and has a solid face with no hand or footholds, while still retaining the attractive natural timber aesthetic of a typical garden fence. However, maintenance is key, and one of the first thing burglars will notice is the condition a fence is in, rather than a particular style. Therefore, old, broken or rotten fence panels are a green light for opportunistic thieves. These can be easily broken or bypassed with minimal effort. When specifying fences as part of a new build housing development, we would suggest opting for high-quality timber, as this will ensure that it is protected against rot. Look for products with an extended guarantee or those that don't need additional treatment over the years. The condition of the fence should still be regularly inspected, and simple methods such as clearing piles of leaves away from the base of the boundary can help to prevent rot which weakens the timber.  Securing fence panels The recent rising cost of timber has led to a dramatic increase in fence panel theft, and panels that can be lifted from the posts are an easy target. Mitigate this risk by screwing the fence panels into the posts. This makes it much harder for the panels to be removed from the posts and creates a more secure barrier.  Concrete posts do offer benefits, but we always advise on timber posts for any fencing. They're strong, just like concrete, but they continue the same natural theme as the rest of the fence. Moreover, if you screwed the panels to concrete posts, they would most likely crack and become damaged, and then be at risk to the elements.  Astute design Design is also important. Installing fence rails on the inside of properties to prevent them from being used as climbing aids is highly recommended. Even better, using panels without rails on high-end developments is a clever tip if you want a secure fence with a high-spec look. Security features don't have to be complicated High fences with solid panels and no gaps in between make it considerably harder for potential burglars to climb over. They also offer better privacy to conceal rear garden areas from intruders, and are much sturdier than other alternative panels.  One common mistake is designing in features such as trees or children's climbing frames too close to the boundary. These can be used by burglars as climbing aids when attempting to scale the fence, making access easy. Investigate the surrounding area, which flanks the outside of the property boundary, as an unfortunately placed bin or bench can also help criminals gain entry. If the removal of these items is not possible, designing in a spiky bush can help deter intruders. It's also worth noting that gardens with numerous large features such as bushes or sheds can also negatively impact the level of security. A clear line of sight across the entire garden is highly recommended where possible. If this view is blocked, it's considerably easy for intruders to hide undetected. Front gardens  While tall, solid fence panels are recommended for rear gardens to prevent intruders from being able to see in and climb over, the opposite is true for front gardens. For street-facing gardens, a low fence or hedge is recommended to provide a clear view from the house. It also makes it much harder for intruders to hide from passers-by or neighbours, who can raise the alarm during a burglary. Another useful security technique to consider is a gravel drive. These create noise, which means the homeowner will know when it is in use. Pair this with a strong boundary fence, the likelihood of burglary dramatically decreases. This article only scratches the surface in unveiling the sheer volume of effective home security options on offer to protect homes and gardens. These investments can help minimise the risk of traumatic break-ins, while also simultaneously boosting the aesthetic of the property and its surroundings. 

The importance of a secure perimeter in safeguarding our schools
The importance of a secure perimeter in safeguarding our schools

Schools play a key role in shaping our future. Following the reopening of classrooms up and down the country, young minds are returning to some normality. Once again they're being inspired, learning useful skills, and forging new interests to ensure our country's continued prosperity. Schools need a comprehensive security infrastructure to protect the children who attend them. Most notably, secure perimeters that keep unwanted people out, but also ensure visitors, parents, and students alike can access their shared community space without feeling segregated or unwelcome. Robust boundary fencing  However, although safety is often the primary concern of parents, with tighter budgetary constraints and funds prioritised to make schools COVID safe, it can be all too easy to let important perimeter replacement or improvement programmes slip. The purpose of boundary fencing is to restrict unauthorised entry and exit The purpose of boundary fencing is to restrict unauthorised entry and exit from school grounds, and should be specifically designed to be fit for purpose. Opting for fencing with a welded pale-through-rail construction and concealed anti-tamper connectors between  fence panels and posts delivers a robust boundary that's virtually impossible to break through. This style of fencing also gives a better finish with no visible joints or unsightly bolts. Attractive and practical solutions Unlike generic riveted palisade fencing, this solution is both attractive and practical, more so now that LPS 1175 SR1 certified and Secured by Design versions are available. The style of fencing should meet a school's desired security and safety requirements, simultaneously, it should not compromise on aesthetic considerations. As part of the public face of the school, it should be attractive as well as functional, helping overcome any concerns of creating a prison-like environment and promote a sense of well-being. It's recommended that perimeter fencing should be: a minimum of two metres high, vandal-resistant and sturdy, grounded on a hard surface, challenging to scale, and have an anti-climb topping, much the same as a high-security option. Access all areas Each educational site must consider the number of necessary entrances A perimeter fence requires secure access points and gates. Each educational site must consider the number of necessary entrances. These should be kept to a minimum, to make it easier to maintain control of visitor movement. However, in larger schools this is not always possible and additional entrances may be required to prevent potentially dangerous congestion at the start and end of the school day. Furthermore, separate gates must be installed for vehicles and pedestrians to ensure they are kept at a safe distance, and avoid unnecessary openings of large, double leaf gates. All access points should be locked during the day to keep students on-site and prevent intruders from gaining access to school grounds. Gates should ideally be matched in  design, height and construction to the fencing,  to prevent creating vulnerable areas and compromising security. Automatic vs manual While automatic gates offer more control, manual gates shouldn't be overlooked. Not only are they easier to install and usually cheaper than automated gates, but they also don't rely on power, so if your site's supply is cut off, they provide a hassle-free exit. Furthermore, gates that are only used at the start and end of the day can be easily locked manually by staff. However, automated gates do offer welcome flexibility, as they include access control devices such as remote controls, keypads and card readers, which will also increase the school's security. They're also robust and heavy, meaning it's incredibly difficult to force them open. Electric gates offer additional versatility with a choice of either full automation, or a hybrid of manned and automatic security, with staff able to allow visitors access via intercom or video system. Securing outdoor facilities It’s also essential to consider outdoor areas when it comes to specifying security options for educational environments. Specialist security fencing should be specified where recreational areas double up as the school’s boundary fencing. The security of the site's sports facilities will also need to be considered. Commonly known as MUGAs (Multi-Use Games Areas), enclosures can be designed with specialist mesh systems to allow multiple sports to be played in the same location while providing safety to participants, spectators and buildings. When it comes to play areas in nurseries and junior schools, installing RoSPA approved and BS EN 1176 compliant fencing and gates is recommended. These are available in both timber and steel options and tested for their ability to provide a safe fencing and gate solution - designed to reduce the risk of limb entrapment. Acoustic fencing is also worth considering for these environments, particularly in urban areas or where housing is close to school play areas. It can help reduce incoming ambient noise from neighbouring busy roads, railway lines, or construction sites, and contain the school noise within its boundary. Offering sufficient protection Focus on learning unimpeded by threat The current generation of children deserve an environment where they can focus on learning unimpeded by threat. Schools need robust perimeter solutions that welcome pupils, offer peace of mind to parents, and provide them with sufficient protection against intruders. Ultimately, it's the responsibility of the head teachers to engage in dialogue with knowledgeable security professionals to get the most appropriate and effective security solutions for their school, staff and students.

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