The Coliseum Leisure and Retail Park on the outskirts of Elsmere Port is one of the real success stories of the out of town leisure phenomenon. Constructed on a brown-field site in 1998 the Leisure Park is owned by The Leisure Fund Ltd and complements the retail side of the Coliseum owned by Equitable Life.
The Ellesmere Port facility comprises a large leisure park on one side, with the UK's largest designer outlet village on the other. With over 140 shops, it features a wide range of outlet stores run by large brands offering designer goods at discount prices. For post retail therapy nourishment, customers can make their way to the leisure park to enjoy a fifteen-screen cinema complementing seven restaurants and bars including Frankie and Benny's, Old Orleans, Nando's, Bella Italia, Chiquitos, and a brand new Prezza eatery, or dance the night away in the park's twin scene nightclub.
The expansive site attracts thousands of visitors each week, with a diverse client base from families, teenagers (especially during their summer holidays), to adults enjoying a meal, film or after hours drinks in the Destiny and Elite nightclub.
The management of both the retail and leisure site is entrusted to Donaldsons, whose main priority is to ensure that visitors enjoy their stay. A corner stone of this strategy is the on-site purpose built security office housing the control for the site's CCTV system, installed when the leisure complex first opened.
Over the life of its operation, and in addition to the system being superseded by rapid advancements in CCTV technology, the system proved to offer only limited use for site management purposes and some surveillance blind spots had become apparent in the overall visual coverage of the site. This surveillance gap in the original system had resulted in occasional anti-social and criminal behaviour escaping observation by security staff.
This had meant that if an incident was detected, subsequent events might not always be available for monitoring and therefore go untracked, making any consequent prosecution difficult to progress, due to a lack of available visual evidence.
Securing the solution
Leisure Fund Ltd partnership entrusts Coliseum customers' safety to Strata Security who turned to Panasonic Premier Integrator, Reflex Systems of South Yorkshire to fulfil their objective of better site management through a significantly upgraded surveillance system.
After a comprehensive audit of the site and significant collaboration with Mike Jeffries, Operations Manager at the Coliseum, Steve Ward, Reflex's Projects Director, specified an industry leading Panasonic based solution for the leisure complex.
Reflex installed Panasonic WV-CW864a dome cameras throughout the site delivering an economic installation, whist still allowing system operators to effectively monitor and archive video footage of incidents in progress, for use as prosecution evidence. With the WV-CW864a camera's integrated housing specifically developed for ‘all weather' outdoor use, the model was the ideal choice to be used to cover the park's external grounds. Its Super Dynamic II technology, day/night-switching mode and 510 lines resolution permits effective observation in out door light conditions as low as just 0.03 lux. This high-performance specification enables The Coliseum's operators to clearly identify individuals, even in very testing low-light conditions.
Camera images are transmitted to the system's on-site control room situated in a purpose built security lodge. Equipped with Panasonic WV-CM1780 17" colour monitors and a WJ-HD 316A 16-channel hard disk digital video recorder, which is programmed to record 120 images per second, system operators can review crystal clear images of any incidents captured, making for easy identification of incidents and the individuals involved.
Video playback and review is intuitively controlled via a Panasonic WV-CU650CJ/B controller that also manages the system's WJ-SX150A camera matrix. The controller caters for changing operator shifts, employing an ambidextrous joystick and intuitive user assignable controls, and programmable preset modes. This set-up benefits individual operators, as they can select their own bespoke ‘personalised' system functionality, leading to smooth, seamless shift changeovers.
The Coliseum control room only uses Security Industry Authority (SIA) licensed operators. Using only SIA qualified staff continues The Coliseum's business ethos of ensuring best practice standards are applied and adhered to at all times. In combination with the Panasonic based CCTV system, this enables Mike and his team to gain an effective overview of any potential or actual incident, supplying invaluable backup to the security staff on the ground.
Mike Jeffries explains, "It has always been a top priority for me to secure SIA qualifications for all our operators; it guarantees that they are properly trained to deal with incidents and ensures they observe correct day-to-day practice."
The new system now affords uncompromised surveillance of the leisure park, including the exteriors of all business units, their rear facing service areas, large car park, all interior roadways and most arterial roadways.
Since the new Panasonic CCTV system has been installed, the detection of incidents of unsociable and occasionally criminal behaviour has increased and is notably being dealt with more efficiently by the park's foot patrolling security staff and the presence of on-site police employed during busy weekend evenings.
Mike Jeffries says, "Once a defendant realises that his actions are recorded in high quality digital video, ready for playback in court, any not-guilty plea tends to be quickly revised. This has proved invaluable, saving valuable court time and subsequently tax payers' money."
Daily usage of the system also fulfils a simple public service role, as Mike Jeffries explains, "We have had instances of cars rolling very slowly across the car park when their drivers have failed to apply the handbrake fully. Certain areas of the car park have a slight gradient and customers have been observed walking away from their vehicle as it roles slowly downhill. Our vigilant operators have been are able to spot vehicle movements and immediately alert our ground staff to tackle the problem."
Mike concludes, "The Panasonic based surveillance system has become an essential tool in the daily running of the Coliseum Park. It is quite simply the most efficient and effective way to secure a facility like ours, providing a security, health and safety, and management tool in one easy-to-use package. It empowers our ground staff to deal with situations before they have a chance to turn into a greater incident, allowing swift and secure resolutions to situations with minimal disturbance, or risk to the public."