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Biometrics - News

Visimetrics delivers integrated surveillance solution to West Midlands Police

Published on 25 March, 2011
 Visimetrics Ltd completes installation of high-performance digital video recording, storage and health-management solution covering 23 police custody suites
Visimetrics delivered its flagship FASTAR Digital Video Recorder for 23 police custody suites for West Midland Police

Leading manufacturer of Digital Evidence Recorders for CCTV and surveillance applications, Visimetrics Ltd, announces that it has delivered an integrated solution based on its flagship FASTAR Digital Video Recorder for 23 police custody suites for England's second largest police force - West Midland Police (WMP).

The new solution encompasses more than 1,000 cameras and 116 FASTAR Encoders working in association with RAID Array mass storage systems. The entire solution contains a massive 1,400 TB (1.4 Petabytes!), of RAID6 protected storage. Visimetrics network based health monitoring system continually checks encoders and storage systems for status providing Visimetrics, WMP and the systems integrator with real-time updates.

Colin Holder, CCTV Project Manager at West Midlands Police Force, explains some of the key considerations used to evaluate the Visimetrics solution. "Custody CCTV images often form part of murder investigations. As the footage can be used by expert witnesses in facial mapping it is essential that the recorded images are of the highest quality. Image quality was by far the most decisive consideration we had, closely followed by audio quality, lip synchronisation and user management of the recordings. Visimetrics held a clear advantage over other systems evaluated in delivering these key requirements."

The force was also keen to streamline the processing of evidence as a result of the project. Colin continues, "Another key benefit Visimetrics offered is the ability to download footage in a very straight forward manner onto DVD. Crucially, both in standard PC format and in a 'playable' format for use in standard DVD machines. Given that the Criminal Justice System uses DVD as its standard method; this ability has massively streamlined the process of getting useable evidence directly to our 'customers'."

With a budget allocation of £2.5 million assigned the force started the installation work early in 2009. The aim was to complete two custody suites per month. For operational reasons custody suites geographically separated were chosen for installation at the same time. The project pretty much managed to adhere to this plan, despite changes caused by the force undergoing a major re-structuring at the same time.

 Visimetrics provided an element of bespoke development for the project in the form of an interactive Graphical User Interface (GUI) to provide multi-level mapping and drag 'n drop of cameras from site maps to monitor displays

Visimetrics provided an element of bespoke development for multi level mapping through an interactive GUI

Tim Wood, Business Development Director for Visimetrics who has been involved with the project since its inception, describes the system, "The WMP solution is effectively one - very large - integrated recording system operating across the force's Wide Area Network. Use of the network not only provides system access to authorised users from any force location, it also simplifies the on-going monitoring of the entire system. Using standard network management protocols such as SNMP, key performance and status information about the Encoders and RAID storage systems is automatically sent over the network and relayed through the force's servers to manufacturer and service provider in real-time. This capability allows engineers to react immediately to any issues in a pro-active manner keeping any problems from escalating. Without doubt this will maximise the long term operation of the system".

WMP's police stations are very different in terms of architecture. Some stations are located in old Victorian buildings, others in modern buildings. A pattern was established with the aim to minimise blind spots within each block and the number of cameras is directly related to the size of the block and, also, whether the site has an exercise yard and/or a van dock. The CCTV coverage is therefore exceptionally high compared to most installations.

Visimetrics provided an element of bespoke development for the project in the form of an interactive Graphical User Interface (GUI) to provide multi-level mapping and drag 'n drop of cameras from site maps to monitor displays. Many system users such as professional standards aren't knowledgeable of the specific layout of each suite and having the mapping functionality provides a level of 'situation awareness' relating to camera views. Outside of that, there were a few requests for minor additions to the standard solution which were facilitated within a matter of days.


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