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Case study

Sony Network Video Monitoring helps combat vandalism at local recreation grounds
Recreation facilities deploy security cameras
Sony's network cameras and surveillance software installed at recreation facilities

Shinfield Parish Council represents the communities of Shinfield Rise, Shinfield Village, Spencers Wood, Ryeish Green, Three Mile Cross and Grazeley, just south of Reading. It is responsible for maintaining a number of playing fields and recreation facilities in the area.

Customer challenge / business needs

In a world dominated by television and computer games, playing fields have a vital role to play in the health of the nation. Providing both recreational resource for the young and old and a base for sports teams, these facilities bind communities together.

Bodies such as Shinfield Parish Council face a daily struggle to keep these all-important facilities in good order and eliminate incidents of vandalism that can spoil the enjoyment of local people. Recently, vandals had been targeting sports pavilions and community facilities at a number of recreation grounds and the Council needed to take action to halt this persistent problem.

"We'd tried to improve the physical security of the buildings, but they are located in remote areas and, because of the way they are constructed, it's difficult to make them completely secure," said Jacqui Barnes, Clerk at Shinfield Parish Council. "We felt that a surveillance solution would act as a deterrent and help to cut down the number of incidents."

The Sony solution

Following advice from security specialists SCS, Sony installed its SNC-Z20P cameras at facilities at two recreation sites. The cameras transmit images via a standard broadband connection and, with the correct password, users can access images from any PC using Sony's RealShot software.

Due to the relatively small number of Council employees, staff needed to be able to review all images from a central point without having to visit each site. They also wanted the flexibility to access surveillance footage remotely when they were not in the office.
Sony installed its SNC-Z20P cameras 
Sony installed its SNC-Z20P cameras at facilities at two recreation sites

"We were keen to deliver a system that would answer the needs of the Council today but could also grow with its needs in future," explained Stephen Blay, Managing Director of SCS. "We felt that an IP-based solution would provide the flexibility and quality they were looking for without limiting opportunities for future development and expansion of their surveillance provisions."

The implementation

Renowned for its excellent image quality, Sony's solution guarantees that the faces of perpetrators were recognisable, ensuring the council could successfully prosecute and secure a conviction for offenders caught damaging council property.

For added security, the digital recordings can also be stored at the Council offices, eliminating on-site interference. "With some of the traditional CCTV systems vandals could just remove the on-site tapes," explained Barnes. "By reviewing and storing images remotely the solution remains effective 24/7."

The SNC-Z20P also has sophisticated features such as Day/Night, Slow Shutter, and Activity Detection functions for further convenience in monitoring operations.

Customer benefits

Council staff have been impressed with the convenience and user-friendliness of the system. "The navigation is very intuitive and you don't have to be a computer specialist to use it," said Barnes. "Images can be monitored and recorded centrally and, if necessary, you can even monitor footage from home without going into the office."

The new surveillance system has improved the speed at which staff can respond to incidents and ensures the council "can react [to vandalism] straight away rather than waiting until damage has been reported by a passer by," confirmed Barnes.
Sony RealShot Manager
Sony's RealShot software controls the new surveillance system

Dramatic cost savings testify to the system's effectiveness as a deterrent to potential vandals. "Our annual expenditure on repairs due to vandalism has fallen dramatically from approximately £25,000 to just £2,000," said Barnes. "The system has easily paid for itself in under a year."

The networked system also gives the council the flexibility to change the position of existing cameras or add new ones in future without the prohibitive cost of expensive hardware upgrades.

"The use of IP-based monitoring equipment removes the need for coaxial cables, giving much more flexibility than a traditional CCTV system," explained Chris Brown, Strategic Business Development Manager at Sony. "As the council expands its solution, it can rapidly deploy and relocate cameras as and when required to combat crime and antisocial behaviour."

Sony - The market leader

The system has been so successful that the Council plans to extend the network of cameras to a third site.

"Ultimately, our aim is to improve the safety and enjoyment of the legitimate users of recreation facilities," concludes Barnes. "We feel that the surveillance system has achieved this and we will continue to use this technology to win back these areas for the local community."

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