Published on 6 June, 2008
Siemens Building Technologies Security Systems has completed a £400 thousand pound refurbishment and upgrade of a unique control room, which provides Enfield Council, along with other organisations in the area, with all their monitoring, alarm and response needs.
The Enfield Public Safety Centre (EPSC) in Edmonton was officially opened in May 2003 providing a combined CCTV control, traffic enforcement and alarm receiving base 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Bringing together First Capital Connect, Metropolitan Police, TFL (Transport for London) and, most recently, British Transport Police, the centre has become an invaluable tool for tackling criminal activity, public disorder incidents and breaches in traffic legislation.
However, the equipment was outdated, it took up too much space and it didn't allow for future growth. Siemens Building Technologies Security Systems set about replacing the previous eighty analogue screens with an impressive state-of-the-art video wall, which consists of a seamless wall of 16 digital cubes driven by an Electrosonic Quantum Controller. The wall enables the team to add maps and intelligence information, using a highly intuitive CNL graphical user interface and can display up to 72 screens and an additional 6 digital inputs at anyone time at XGA quality.
Nine fulltime CCTV operators now monitor the 1,000 CCTV cameras round the clock from the centre, for both the train company and the authority. The centre stores tens of Terrabytes of data which is retained for up to 31 days as recommended by the Home Office. The new CCTV management system also enables the supervisor and their team to immediately log all incidents electronically resulting in fact-filled reports including detailed statistics and graphs that can be emailed out to clients.
The centre has direct visual and audio links to the Metropolitan Police's new centralised "Metcall" response centres, as well as to the local police Integrated Borough Operations Centre (IBO). Since opening, the centre has helped the police with investigations, witnessing crimes and providing evidence for trials and prosecutions, and has lead to approximately 2,000 arrests.
Graeme Gerrard, Deputy Chief Constable, Cheshire Constabulary, is chairman of the Association of Police Officers (ACPO) Video and CCTV working group. He comments: "The EPSC gives a real opportunity to centralise the operation and work in partnership with other organisations to the benefit of us all. It is a fabulous facility that enables us to use CCTV in a smarter way."
Elaine Holt, Managing Director of First Capital Connect, agrees. Operating over 70 rail routes from Euston to Peterborough, PTZ cameras with a powerful zoom range combined with brand new video recorders are helping to keep First Capital Connect passengers and its assets safe. The images are digitally recorded at 12 frames a second, and there is a full time British Transport Police Officer seconded to the centre to support operators with real time incidents as they occur, produce evidence packages for court and maintain radio contact with BT police.
She says: "We believe that prevention is better than reaction after the event and since we started the franchise two years ago, First Capital Connect has seen a reduction of almost 50% in crime at some of the stations we manage. The centre is already giving us results and complements the other security initiatives we have launched across the network."
The is fully integrated enabling individual council departments to be emailed immediately regarding incidents of a relevant nature. For example, the highways department can be automatically informed of damaged rails following a road accident by sending a pdf directly to them.
The centre also carries out traffic enforcement on behalf of Transport for London, helping to reduce congestion, keeping bus lanes open and enforcing local breaches in parking and traffic legislation.
The centre has a multitude of additional uses. For example, it houses Metropolitan police officers that are based on site full time to collect and analyse any vital evidence footage, as well as responding to new incidents. The centre is also responsible for monitoring all council-owned community safety cameras in public places including those on housing estates, and internal building CCTV cameras for Enfield Council's Housing Services. It is now so widely respected that the centre is also responsible for monitoring 60 of Waltham Forest Council's public street CCTV cameras.
With the capacity and equipment to handle more cameras, many other public sector organisations such as schools, colleges, hospitals, nightclubs and shopping centres, retail parks, have shown interest in joining.
It is hoped that through negotiations the centre can help in the forthcoming 2012 Olympics due to its wide client base and expertise in the transport sector and public safety arena.