An integrated surveillance and security management solution, developed and deployed by Synectics, is helping to improve staff and inmate safety at a major European Category A prison.

The vast site, which houses over 750 inmates, comprises multiple buildings, including cell blocks, visiting zones, gym and exercise areas, and special focus zones, all of which are monitored by over 2000 cameras.

A command and control solution was required that would allow operators to monitor and manage all cameras from a single location – the ECR (Emergency Control Room). The solution had to be capable of integrating with a wide range of third-party access control, security, and emergency systems operating across the prison estate that are designed to flag up staff and inmate safety risks – a key priority for the prison authority.Synergy 3 is designed to integrate with a wide range of ONVIF-conformant systems and devices

Multi-site monitoring

The end-to-end Synergy 3-driven solution developed by Synectics gives security personnel located in each block 24/7 access to video footage and ensures that overarching control is only allowed by operators based in the central ECR.

Here, footage from any camera located in any block is monitored, controlled, and reviewed in real time, with integrated GIS mapping displaying camera points, additional location-based data and live ‘field of view’ plotting on an exact site layout. Operators can simply point and click to immediately view live feed and control PTZ cameras directly from the map.

Synergy 3 is designed to integrate with a wide range of ONVIF-conformant systems and devices. Hence, video footage can be paired with data inputs from other third-party systems to provide the prison with a comprehensive alarm monitoring and alert solution.

Threat detection with body-worn alerts

By connecting data from the access control system and information from body-worn emergency alerts, Synergy 3 can immediately flag up the location of a staff member and display footage from the nearest camera, allowing operators to undertake a visual assessment of any potential threat.

The map-centric display, teamed with alert-triggered on-screen guidance workflows, ensures that the right support is dispatched to the correct location as quickly as possible.Synergy 3 removes the need to allocate specific blocks/areas to supporting inmates in need of help

GIS mapping

The GIS mapping capabilities of Synergy 3 also facilitates the prison’s ‘safer cells’ initiative that changes the level of support and monitoring assigned to an individual cell based on the inmate’s risk level. For example, if an inmate is suffering from mental health issues, they may require more frequent staff contact, observation, or in severe cases be assigned to suicide watch.

Using Synergy 3, operators in the ECR can monitor any designated ‘safer cells’ and therefore activate/de-activate associated systems including in-cell surveillance, pill-hatch status, and audio logging of conversations with prison staff and from audio call points implemented in partnership with the Samaritans.

In addition to supporting those inmates most in need of help, using Synergy 3 to activate safer cell features removes the need to allocate specific blocks/areas of the prison to this purpose, thus reducing situations where vulnerable prisoners might feel even more isolated.

Emergency response through interoperability

Synergy 3’s interoperability with other systems enables operators based in the ECR to engage precise emergency protocols should a threat be detected. For example, individual doors or whole zones can be locked down for incident containment.

Conversely, should the need arise to evacuate a particular area quickly, access control can be overridden to create the fastest route to safety. Synergy 3's workflow feature also enables lights and power to be controlled in response to evolving scenarios, such as disabling lifts in the event a fire or if a hazard has been detected on a specific floor.With built-in redundancy functionality, coverage at the prison is guaranteed 24/7

360-degree surveillance

While enhanced safety was an essential priority for the project, the Category A status of the facility requires the highest levels of security functionality from the surveillance solution supplied.

By integrating and interrogating data from a wide range of systems, the Synergy 3 solution from Synectics delivers a 360-degree view of all site movement, activity, and alarms for complete situational awareness. For example, integration with the perimeter fence solution and video analytics generates alerts based on movement, touch, and approaching shapes for immediate review and action.

And with built-in redundancy functionality, including server failover and hot-swap recording to eliminate any single points of failure, coverage at the prison is guaranteed 24/7. Together with Synergy 3’s operational and safety management capabilities, these features all help ensure that inmates, personnel, and facilities across the prison estate are supported and protected.

Brett Longley, Technical Sales Manager at Synectics, said: “Prison facilities are no longer just about traditional security. This project demonstrates that a fully integrated surveillance solution delivers a wide range of safety measures benefiting inmates and staff and helps improve overall operational efficacy.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Moving to sophisticated electric locking
Moving to sophisticated electric locking

In part one of this feature, we introduced the shotbolt – a solenoid actuator – as the workhorse at the heart of most straightforward electric locking systems. Shotbolts remain at the core of most sophisticated electric locking solutions as well. But they are supplemented by materials and technologies that provide characteristics suited to specialist security applications. Here we look at some more demanding electric locking applications and contemporary solutions. Preventing forced entry Where the end of the shotbolt is accessible, the electric holding force can be overcome by physical force. That’s why anti-jacking technology is now a frequent feature of contemporary electric solenoid lock actuators. Anti-jacking, dead-locking or ‘bloc’ technology (the latter patented by MSL) is inherent to the way the locking assembly is designed to suit the requirements of the end application. The patented bloc anti-jacking system is highly effective and incorporated into many MSL shotbolts deployed in electric locking applications. The bloc technology uses a ring of steel balls in a shaped internal housing to physically jam the actuated bolt in place. A range of marine locks is widely used on Superyachts for rapid lockdown security from the helm Real life applications for MSL anti-jacking and bloc-equipped shotbolts include installation in the back of supermarket trucks to secure the roller shutter. Once locked from the cab, or remotely using radio technology, these shutters cannot be forced open by anyone with ‘undesirable intentions’ armed with a jemmy. A range of marine locks is widely used on Superyachts for rapid lockdown security from the helm. While anti-jacking features are an option on these shotbolts, consideration was given to the construction materials to provide durability in saltwater environments. Marine locks use corrosion-proof stainless steel, which is also highly polished to be aesthetically pleasing to suit the prestigious nature of the vessel while hiding the innovative technology that prevents the lock being forced open by intruders who may board the craft. Rotary and proportional solenoids sound unlikely but are now common A less obvious example of integrated technology to prevent forced override is a floor lock. This lock assembly is mounted beneath the floor with round-top stainless-steel bolts that project upwards when actuated. They are designed to lock all-glass doors and are arguably the only discreet and attractive way to lock glass doors securely. In a prestigious installation at a historic entranceway in Edinburgh University, the floor locks are remotely controlled from an emergency button behind the reception desk. They act on twin sets of glass doors to quickly allow the doors to close and then lock them closed with another set of subfloor locks. No amount of stamping on or hitting the 15mm protruding bolt pin will cause it to yield, thus preventing intruders from entering. Or leaving! Explosion proofing In many environments, electric locking technology must be ATEX certified to mitigate any risk of explosion. For example, remote electric locking is used widely on oil and gas rigs for stringent access control, general security and for emergency shutter release in the event of fire. It’s also used across many industrial sectors where explosion risks exist, including flour milling, In many environments, electric locking technology must be ATEX certified to mitigate any risk of explosionpowder producers, paint manufacture, etc. This adds a new dimension to the actuator design, demanding not only intrinsically safe electrical circuits and solenoid coils, but the careful selection of metals and materials to eliminate the chance of sparks arising from moving parts. Resilience under pressure The technology boundaries of solenoids are always being pushed. Rotary and proportional solenoids sound unlikely but are now common. More recently, while not directly related to security in the traditional sense, proportional solenoid valves for accurately controlling the flow of hydrogen and gases now exist. Magnet Schultz has an extensive and somewhat innovative new range of hydrogen valves proving popular in the energy and automotive sectors (Fig. 2-6). There’s a different kind of security risk at play here when dealing with hydrogen under pressures of up to 1050 bar. Bio security Less an issue for the complexity of locking technology but more an imperative for the effectiveness of an electric lock is the frequent use of shotbolts in the bio research sector. Remote electric locking is commonplace in many bioreactor applications. Cultures being grown inside bioreactors can be undesirable agents, making 100% dependable locking of bioreactor lids essential to prevent untimely access or the unwanted escape of organisms. Again, that has proven to be topical in the current climate of recurring coronavirus outbreaks around the world. More than meets the eye In part one, I started by headlining that there’s more to electric lock actuation in all manner of security applications than meets the eye and pointed out that while electric locking is among the most ubiquitous examples of everyday security, the complexity often involved and the advanced technologies deployed typically go unnoticed.Integrating the simplest linear actuator into a complex system is rarely simple For end users, that’s a very good thing. But for electro-mechanical engineers designing a system, it can present a challenge. Our goal at Magnet Schultz is to provide a clearer insight into today’s electric locking industry sector and the wide range of locking solutions available – from the straightforward to the specialised and sophisticated. Integrating the simplest linear actuator into a complex system is rarely simple. There’s no substitute for expertise and experience, and that’s what MSL offers as an outsource service to designers. One benefit afforded to those of us in the actuator industry with a very narrow but intense focus is not just understanding the advantages and limitations of solenoid technology, but the visibility of, and participation in, emerging developments in the science of electric locking. Knowing what’s achievable is invaluable in every project development phase.

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. 

How is AI changing the security market?
How is AI changing the security market?

Artificial intelligence is more than just the latest buzzword in the security marketplace. In some cases, smarter computer technologies like AI and machine learning (ML) are helping to transform how security operates. AI is also expanding the industry’s use cases, sometimes even beyond the historic province of the security realm. It turns out that AI is also a timely tool in the middle of a global pandemic. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How is artificial intelligence (AI) changing the security market?