Covering a 2,400 square kilometre area with 110,000 residents, the Chatham-Kent Police Service (CKPS) is dedicated to making its community the safest in Ontario, Canada. With a force of 171 officers and 70 civilian employees, the CKPS has been adopting new technologies to better protect the public and ultimately, prevent crime in its community. Consequently, the CKPS has deployed the Avigilon High Definition (HD) Surveillance System at its headquarters to boost security onsite and deliver detailed, solid evidence to the court to meet disclosure requirements and achieve an overall higher rate of conviction.

After facing several insurmountable challenges with its previous video surveillance system, including inflexible and unreliable hardware and a lack of local support, the CKPS decided to deploy a new, more advanced HD surveillance system to enhance staff safety, secure assets including firearms and other resources, protect the mission-critical IT infrastructure at the 911 control centre, and monitor prisoners in the holding areas.

We wanted to augment our existing security plan with added video surveillance of both the interior and exterior of our 6,000 square metre building for greater overall protection,” explained Inspector Tim Mifflin of the CKPS. “It is also our responsibility to monitor prisoners for court purposes and provide reliable—and useable—video evidence. With the new Avigilon HD Surveillance System, we are far better equipped to successfully meet our disclosure requirements.”The CKPS has installed two Avigilon HD network video recorders (NVRs) with automatic failover

Facilitating video evidence collection

Working closely with the team at SECURaGLOBE Solutions, a provider of surveillance system design, installation, and service, the CKPS assessed three video surveillance systems. “After careful review and unanimous support from our board, Avigilon was quickly identified as the best surveillance solution to help us improve security onsite and provide the courts with the best evidence possible to successfully meet our disclosure requirements,” said Inspector Mifflin. “Avigilon won based on performance, cost, and ease-of-operation.”

Officers and administrators at the CKPS seamlessly manage the Avigilon HD Surveillance System using Avigilon Control Center network video management software (NVMS) with HD stream management (HDSM) and installed 12 Avigilon analogue video encoders to dramatically improve the performance of its existing 48 analogue cameras.

The CKPS has also installed two Avigilon HD network video recorders (NVRs) with automatic failover to store 30 days of continuous surveillance video with greater reliability and redundancy. According to Inspector Mifflin, installation was simple and straightforward. “SecuraGlobe and Avigilon worked together to provide excellent support and training on the new system.”The Avigilon HD Surveillance System is able to deliver more precise synchronisation

Accurate audio-video synchronisation

To help meet stringent court disclosure requirements and provide the most reliable evidence possible, the CKPS needed to improve its audio recording capabilities to ensure precise audio/video synchronisation of surveillance footage. “Along with video, well-synched audio is essential to our ability to provide useable evidence to the court,” explained Shannon Postma, information systems technician at the CKPS, who has installed microphones in common areas to record suspects throughout the legal process. With its previous system, audio and video was not well-synched, often leading to the inadmissibility of evidence in court.

The Avigilon HD Surveillance System is able to deliver more precise synchronisation because it is a complete, end-to-end solution engineered to ensure that all data is accurately time-stamped. “With Avigilon’s superior synchronisation capabilities, we can now provide the best evidence possible.”

it is a complete, end-to-end solution engineered to ensure that all data is accurately time-stamped
Avigilon Control Center software’s advanced functionality and simple management tools have also been a key selling feature for the CKPS

Postma can also create a standardised format to facilitate audio transcription that is compatible with the Police Service’s dictation system, something they were not previously able to do without a lot of time and effort. “Before installing the Avigilon HD Surveillance System, we would have to physically play the tape, hit pause, and transcribe the audio by hand—an extremely time-consuming task,” said Postma.It takes one tenth the time to search, playback, identify, and copy video to create a file to be used in court

Enhanced functionality with reduced response time

Avigilon Control Center software’s advanced functionality and simple management tools have also been a key selling feature for the CKPS, especially when it comes to improving their evidence collection abilities. “When I create a video using Avigilon Control Center software, I can easily pinpoint an incident, overlay comments, include incident numbers, and even create a PDF of the exact detail required, dramatically improving our ability to provide full and accurate disclosure,” said Postma.

Using their former surveillance system, a CKPS employee would have to pull video from the system and review footage by hand to identify an event, which was very labour intensive. “With our previous system, it would take the better part of a full time employee’s day to review and prepare footage for court,” explained Inspector Mifflin. “Now, that employee can be redeployed to other functions that will boost security throughout the community.”

According to Postma, Avigilon Control Center’s powerful functionality and search capabilities are tenfold better than her previous system, as is overall image clarity. “It literally takes one tenth the time to search, playback, identify, and copy video to create a file to be used in court—a huge selling point for me,” noted Postma. And while the previous system claimed to deliver precise image detail, the hardware was unable to keep up, making evidence collection difficult.

Avigilon Control Center software is very, very capable of doing what I need it to do to help me be as successful in my job as possible.” Using Avigilon Control Center software, Postma is also able to assign limited functionality to specific users to reduce the number of individuals involved in the manipulation of evidence, further ensuring its integrity for court purposes.Avigilon’s use of JPEG2000 compression technology dramatically increases image capture quality

Reliability in high-risk environments

Avigilon’s rich feature set and easy management tools have resulted in greater operational efficiencies and improved overall productivity for the CKPS. “With the Avigilon HD Surveillance system installed, we immediately save personnel time,” stated Inspector Mifflin. “In the long term, the Avigilon HD Surveillance System will become a routine function of the lock-up officer, freeing up time for the IT services team and forensic identification unit, who have until now been the system’s main users.”

According to Postma, the Avigilon HD Surveillance System has already saved her valuable time. “I am confident that the system is up and running all the time, so I no longer spend unnecessary time checking on the system,” she said. In addition, Avigilon’s use of JPEG2000 compression technology dramatically increases image capture quality and intelligently manages the progressive transmission of images at variable resolution to reduce bandwidth requirements and associated storage costs.

Working in a high-risk environment in which police officers are interacting with suspects and prisoners around the clock, the CKPS identified reliability as a top requirement for its new surveillance system. Configured with two network video recorders installed in a secure server room, the Avigilon HD Surveillance System promises automatic failover and complete redundancy.

With up to 2,000 prisoners annually in our holding cells, it is critical that our surveillance system stay up and running all the time – it simply cannot go down,” explained Postma. “The fact that Avigilon delivers a solution with automatic failover and full redundancy was a huge selling point for me.”

Community safety

By deploying the Avigilon HD Surveillance System, the CKPS can deliver irrefutable, conclusive evidence on which to confirm and convict, leaving little room for doubt. “The Avigilon HD Surveillance System is a building block for us as we expand our security initiatives to add surveillance at remote service centres and implement criminal and general surveillance across our jurisdiction for greater overall protection,” concluded Inspector Mifflin. “With Avigilon in place, we can confidently deliver on our promise to provide a safer community for all our residents.”

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2018 FIFA World Cup Russia integrates safety, security and service
2018 FIFA World Cup Russia integrates safety, security and service

The 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament is bringing 32 national teams and more than 400,000 foreign football fans from all over the world to 12 venues in 11 cities in Russia. Fans are crowding into cities including Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kazan. Given continuing global concerns about terrorism, security is top-of-mind. Protection of the World Cup games in Russia is focusing on an “integrated safety, security and service approach,” according to officials. Combining the term “security” with the terms “safety” and “service” is not an accident. An aggressive security stance is necessary, but at the end of the day, fan safety is paramount, and a service-oriented approach ensures a positive fan experience. Medical responders will be working side-by-side with police and antiterrorism personnel. Risk management best practices We asked Sean T. Horner and Ben Joelson, directors of the Chertoff Group, a global advisory firm focused on best practices in security and risk management, to comment on security at FIFA World Cup 2018. Although not involved in securing the 2018 World Cup, the Chertoff Group is experienced at securing large events and enterprises using risk management, business practices and security. Integration is another important aspect of protecting the games, says Horner. The use of multiple resources, including Russian military, intelligence and law enforcement, will be closely integrated to provide the best security for the large-scale event in each of the host cities, he says. The approach will be centralised and flexible, with resource deployment guided by effective situational awareness. Primary security and emergency operations centres will be dispersed throughout each host city “There is a unified command structure at the Russian Federation level, and they will keep resources in reserve and shift them as needed to various events and venues based on any specific intelligence, in effect deploying resources where threats are greatest,” says Joelson. “There will also be some regional commands, and resources will incorporate a spectrum of police and military personnel ranging from the ‘cop on the beat’ to the Spetsnaz, the Russian ‘special forces'.” Primary security and emergency operations centres will be dispersed throughout each host city, and additional forces can be shifted as necessary, he notes. Role of law enforcement In Russia, the lines of separation between law enforcement and the military are not as stark as in the United States, for example, where military forces are restricted from deployment for domestic law enforcement by the Posse Comitatus Act. In Russia, there is no such restriction.  A broad range of technology will play a role at the World Cup, Horner and Joelson agree. Technology will be used primarily as a force multiplier and a decision-support tool for security personnel. There are robust CCTV systems in many Russian cities, and mobile CCTV systems, such as camera towers or mobile security centres on wheels, will also be deployed. Technologies will include infrared cameras, flood lights, and ferromagnetic screening systems to scan hundreds of individuals as they walk by. In some locations, facial recognition systems will be used, tied into various intelligence, military and law enforcement databases of known bad actors. Behaviour analytics will be used as a decision-support tool. In addition to security in public areas, private CCTV systems in hotels, at transportation hubs, and inside the venues themselves will be leveraged. Video analytics and detection will help personnel review live view of people who may be acting suspiciously or who leave a bag unattended. In some locations, facial recognition systems will be used, tied into various intelligence, military and law enforcement databases of known bad actors Rigorous anti-terrorism measures A Fan ID card is required to enter the 2018 World Cup Tournament, even for Russian residents. The Russians have an aggressive stance against domestic terrorism, which will also help ensure the safety of the World Cup games, say Horner and Joelson. Terrorist group ISIS has promised “unprecedented violence” at the games, but they make similar threats at every major global event. Russia has been an active force disrupting ISIS in Syria, and experts suggest that losing ground geographically could lead to addition “asymmetric” terrorist attacks. However, Russia is leveraging all their intelligence resources to identify any plots and deploying their security apparatus to disrupt any planned attacks, experts say. Russia’s rigorous anti-terrorism measures include a total ban on planes and other flying devices (such as drones) around the stadiums hosting the World Cup. Private security In addition to military, intelligence and law enforcement personnel, private security will play a have a high profile during the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Private security personnel will be on the front lines in hotels and in “fan zones.” They will operate magnetometers at entrances, perform bag checks, enforce restrictions on hand-carried items, etc. Private security will be especially important to the “guest experience” aspects of protecting the games. Private security will be especially important to the “guest experience” aspects of protecting the games Another private security function at the World Cup is executive protection of dignitaries and high-net-worth individuals who will be attending. Executive protection professionals will arrive early, conduct advanced security assessments before VIPs arrive, and secure trusted and vetted transportation (including armoured cars in some cases.) VIPs will include both Russian citizens and foreign (including U.S.) dignitaries attending the games. Private security details will be out in force. Aggressive security approach Overeager and outspoken fans are a part of the football culture, but Russia will deploy a near-zero tolerance policy against hooliganism and riots. An overwhelming force presence will take an aggressive approach to curbing any civil disturbances, and offenders will be removed quickly by Russian security forces. Strict restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol will be enforced in the venue cities before and after the matches. Officials will also be cognisant of the possibility of a riot or other event being used as a distraction to draw attention from another area where a terrorist event is planned. It will be a delicate balance between deploying an aggressive security approach and preserving the fan experience. Joelson notes that freedom of speech is not as valued in Russia as in other parts of the world, so the scales will be even more tipped toward security. “The last thing they want is for things to get out of control,” says Horner. “The event is putting Russia on the world stage, and they want visitors to walk away safely after having a great time and wanting to go back in the future.” Attendees should also have good situational awareness, and keep their heads up, scanning crowds and identifying unsafe situations" Precautions for World Cup attendees Attendees to the World Cup in Russia should take some basic precautions, Horner and Joelson agree. For example, Russia requires a translated, notarised letter explaining any prescription drugs. The country has a more aggressive foreign intelligence environment, so visitors cannot depend on their data being private. Joelson recommends the usual “social media hygiene” and privacy settings. Visitors should not post information about their travel plans or locations, and it’s best to travel with a disposable mobile phone that does not contain personal information. Location tracking should be deactivated. Travellers should also beware of talking and sharing information with others, or of saying anything derogatory. “They should also have good situational awareness, and keep their heads up, scanning crowds and identifying unsafe situations,” says Joelson. “If you bring a personal electronic device, you should expect that it has been compromised,” says Horner. Text messages and email will not be private, and he suggests creating an email address used only for travel. Don’t leave drinks unattended. Travellers from the U.S. should register at the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) operated by the U.S. State Department. “Plan before you travel and before you get to the airport,” says Horner.

The benefits and challenges of in-camera audio analytics for surveillance solutions
The benefits and challenges of in-camera audio analytics for surveillance solutions

Audio is often overlooked in the security and video surveillance industry. There are some intercom installations where audio plays a key role, but it’s not typically thought about when it comes to security and event management. Audio takes a back seat in many security systems because audio captured from a surveillance camera can have a different impact on the privacy of those being monitored. Audio surveillance is therefore subject to strict laws that vary from state to state. Many states require a clearly posted sign indicating audio recording is taking place in an area before a person enters. Analytic information derived from audio can be a useful tool and when implemented correctly, removes any concerns over privacy or legal compliance. Audio analytics on the edge overcomes legal challenges as it never passes audio outside of the camera Focused responses to events Audio analytics processed in the camera, has been a niche and specialised area for many installers and end users. 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Having a SoC allows a manufacturer to reserve space for specialised features, and for audio analytics, a database of reference sounds is needed for comparison Microphones and algorithms Many IP-based cameras have small microphones embedded in the housing while some have a jack for connecting external microphones to the camera. Microphones on indoor cameras work well since the housing allows for a small hole to permit sound waves to reach the microphone. Outdoor cameras that are IP66 certified against water and dust ingress will typically have less sensitivity since the microphone is not exposed. In cases like these, an outdoor microphone, strategically placed, can significantly improve outdoor analytic accuracy. There are several companies that make excellent directional microphones for outdoor use, some of which can also combat wind noise. Any high-quality external microphone should easily outperform a camera’s internal microphone in terms of analytic accuracy, so it is worth considering in areas where audio information gathering is deemed most important. In-built audio-video analytics Surveillance cameras with a dedicated SoC (System on Chip) have become available in recent years with in-built video and audio analytics that can detect and classify audio events and send alerts to staff and emergency for sounds such as gunshots, screams, glass breaks and explosions. Having a SoC allows a manufacturer to reserve space for specialised features. For audio analytics, a database of reference sounds is needed for comparison. The camera extracts the characteristics of the audio source collected using the camera's internal or externally connected microphone and calculates its likelihood based on the pre-defined database. 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How important is packaging in the commercial security market?
How important is packaging in the commercial security market?

High-quality products are the building blocks of successful physical security systems. How they are packaged may sometimes be seen as an unimportant detail or an afterthought. But should it be? Effective packaging can serve many functions, from creating a favorable customer impression to ensuring the product isn’t damaged in transit. Packaging can also contribute to ease of installation. On the negative side, excess packaging can be an environmental concern, especially for customers who are sensitive to green factors or to minimising waste. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: Is packaging of products important in the commercial security market? Why or why not?