The challenge

The Crime and Disorder Act was introduced in the UK in 1998. This placed a duty on local government and other organizations to work to reduce crime and the fear of crime.

Swindon neighbourhood groups were dissatisfied with the level of property vandalism, drug-related crime and general safety of residents within their area. The five Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cabled systems operated by the Swindon Borough Council plainly weren't adequate to monitor and protect crime areas within the council, so council officers sought to implement a vastly improved and expanded CCTV service.

Conventional cabled CCTV networked systems did not seem feasible, given that the on-going annual leased line charges (£2000 per link, £20000 per annum) would soon surpass the Council's allotted security budget. In addition, these cabled networks only provided relatively low bandwidth lines (64 kb) that were reliant on local telecommunications providers to ensure connectivity. It also proved difficult to move existing cabled networks into any emerging ‘hotspot' crime areas.

To solve the problem, Swindon Borough councillors approached leading security experts - Xtralis, Initial Electronic Security (part of Rentokil Initial plc), and 802 Distribution, a UK wireless solutions specialist.

The solution

Following extensive consultation, the Council agreed to set up five new wireless IP CCTV sites, covering a home for the elderly, hostels and shopping areas. ADPRO FastTrace video security systems were installed at each site. They also moved their existing leased line CCTV sites to a leading wireless solution called Wi-LAN.

The Wi-LAN VIP technology offered several key benefits, including its own proprietary protocols and chip sets that create an inherently secure network. This technology also offers a flexible, modular system that is fast and simple to set up. This new arrangement offers several other advantages over conventional cabled networks:

  • There is only one connectivity charge for all hardware and existing infrastructure
  • Better quality images are provided, (9 Mb vs. 2 Mb with previous technology).
  • There are no wires to restrain or break network coverage.
  • The wireless application is easy to install, requiring only half a day before beginning operation.
  • The system is flexible enough to reach difficult spots and can be moved easily when required.
  • Most importantly, the wireless system is highly secure
The wireless application is easy to install, requiring only half a day before beginning operation
  The Wi-LAN VIP technology offers proprietary protocols and chip sets that create an inherently secure network

"Wireless technology is still viewed in some areas with suspicion for historical problems with security, operational distance, line-of-sight demands and quality of bandwidth. Wireless technology has moved on and now offers secure, long-range, non-line-of-sight, high-quality bandwidth solutions which open up huge cost savings for local government," said Tim Close, Sales & Marketing Director of 802 Distribution.

The results

Swindon Borough Council has seen a significant decrease in criminal activity in the monitored areas since installing the system. They will recoup their investment in the new wireless set up within two years with the cost savings on the leased lines they no longer need. Swindon's security force is also extremely pleased with the new IP system, which, in addition to Wi-LAN, features Xtralis.

FastTrace security recorders at various sites around town on wireless networks. This gives them the ability to monitor their sites from their own control room-24/7-with fast update speeds, without paying any additional telecommunications line rental charges. The high resolution, evidential quality images can potentially be used as evidence against criminals and the ease of finding and retrieving particular images makes life easier for security personnel.

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