|The CCTV operators were able to view all aspects of the exterior of each of the conference's sites with SynergyPro|
Political gatherings present the ultimate challenge for security staff, and major party conferences are amongst the highest profile events in the political calendar. Last year's Labour Party Conference held in Bournemouth (from September 23 to 27) was no exception, playing host to the country's leading ministers, members of the cabinet and Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.
Of paramount importance to the smooth running of the conference, an integrated security operation was put into place, to protect the safety of those taking part. Key to this operation was the vast CCTV network that afforded police and security staff with instant visual verification of events in and around the conference site. Comprising existing cameras from Bournemouth's town centre system and temporary cameras installed solely for the duration of the conference, the multi-vendor system was integrated and controlled with equipment supplied by market leaders in the development, design and integration of advanced CCTV surveillance technology, Synectics Security Networks
Andy Sims, CCTV Projects Manager for Dorset Police takes up the story: "A full year of planning culminated in two weeks of intensive preparation on the ground, before the week long conference itself began. The security operation encompassed two secure sites, covering the Bournemouth International Centre and the Bournemouth Pavilion building. Securing the conference is a unique challenge for any electronic surveillance system, especially when utilising a mixture of existing and temporary camera systems of differing manufacture. In excess of 100 units are integrated and allied to our temporary command room. This presented a highly complex technical challenge that many control systems are simply unable to handle. However, by selecting Synectics' (SynergyPro software interface), we were provided with a control solution that afforded seamless management across all aspects of the system."
Recorded footage was always available for review from the integrated Synectics Modular Digital Recording System
"The compressed time period available to us for system set up, brings its own pressures to all staff and technicians involved. All security measures have to be in place and fully functioning from day one of the security operation. The CCTV system's mission critical status means that no time slippage can be permitted. Installed by our own specialist installation team, with comprehensive technical backup from Synectics, the system was successfully commissioned on schedule."
With a comparable camera count to that of a large town-centre system, the CCTV operators were able to view all aspects of the exterior of each of the conference's sites, as well as large parts of their surrounding areas, and routes to and from the venues. In addition to the intuitive control of live pictures from the expansive system via SynergyPro, recorded footage was always available for instant operator review from the integrated Synectics Modular Digital Recording System (MDRS). Affording fast and easy-to-use playback, the system allowed officer's instant investigation/confirmation of any monitored activity within the surveillance area, as Andy Sims explains: "Due to the security levels required to protect a Conference of this nature, it is very important to have immediate access to historic camera footage. Our Commanders may require ‘quick time' confirmation of a person's movements or actions so they can make informed decisions as quickly and decisively as possible."
"The Synectics video review software followed recognised investigative procedures and was therefore intuitive to use."
For example, Andy's team may need to review the last ten minutes of footage from all cameras in a certain area. Within the Synectics MDRS review suite, the cameras are simply selected by dragging a box over the geographical area to review, over an onscreen map. Footage from cameras able to view this area and from the specified timeframe is then displayed within the review pane. "This ease of operation,"
continues Andy; "allowed our officers to concentrate on the process of ‘investigation' rather than be distracted by the ‘mechanism' of a complicated video review procedure. Synectics equipment formed a significant part of the security arrangements for the conference and helped us attain the high level of security required to protect both the event and its visitors."