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How does CCTV Monitoring work? The 3 stages of alarm response

How does CCTV Monitoring work? The 3 stages of alarm response
How does CCTV Monitoring work? The 3 stages of alarm response

One of our most frequently asked questions is ‘how does CCTV monitoring work?’ CCTV monitoring is as the name suggests, a service whereby security cameras installed on your site, land or property are watched by trained staff in anticipation of any criminal activity.

Having a CCTV system is said to reduce crime by as much as 13%, however, the effectiveness of your CCTV system is only as good as the response once a security breach occurs. CCTV monitoring was shown to reduce crime by 15% more than a CCTV system that isn’t monitored or manned.

In practice, if your CCTV picks up on something suspicious or triggers an alarm, the alert will be sent instantaneously to the ARC, where skilled security analysts will manage the issue until they have confirmed a false alarm or contacted the police or security responders.

CCTV monitoring has three stages:

  1. Setting alarm response protocols
  2. Alarm triggering
  3. Alarm response

1. Setting alarm response protocols

The first step is to assess the triggers that you would like our CCTV monitoring team to manage – these can be site-specific or dependent on the cameras you have in place.

With an increasingly broad array of advanced surveillance technology, this coverage may include the following:

  • Alerts that something is out of place or where it shouldn’t be, such as an abandoned vehicle or missing equipment.
  • Movement or intrusions outside of working hours or within your property perimeter.
  • Alarm signals linked to broken glass, lock tampering, attempted trespass or other signs of criminal or unauthorised activity.

2. An Alarm is triggered by a security breach

When a signal is transmitted to the ARC, the operatives filter through false alarms and access the cameras or other on-site assets remotely to determine whether there is a serious threat.

If there is no way to ascertain the cause of the alarm, or the alert occurs during opening hours, the operative will usually contact the site manager, mobile patrol team or keyholder to try and gain further insights into whether the alarm is a genuine risk.

Alarms activations outside of working hours or signs of an emergency may mean dispatching security responders or liaising with the police or other emergency services while notifying the site owner of the evolving situation.

3. Alarm response and action

Every client using a CCTV monitoring system has the autonomy to indicate the actions they’d like alarm responders to take, depending on the nature of the incident and how they wish the response to escalate with increasing severity.

In all cases, we advise a bespoke monitoring contract which is closely aligned with your key threats and areas of highest risk since different organisations have contrasting requirements, such as:

  • Always contacting the designated keyholder for instructions before taking further action.
  • Reaching emergency services immediately when a break-in has been verified.
  • Liaising with on-site security teams to allow them to liaise directly with the police.

Below we’ve run through some potential responses you may incorporate into your CCTV monitoring and what the protocol will likely include.

Communicating With Site Keyholders

Many businesses prefer alarm responders to initially contact the site manager, or the appropriate keyholder, whenever CCTV alarms are triggered. This allows the keyholder to confirm whether an emergency is in progress or whether operatives should stand down.

Alarm Audible Challenges

Another response could include an audio message, delivered through CCTV cameras with an integrated speaker system, either pre-recorded or a live broadcast provided by the alarm responder.

Challenges inform the intruder, trespasser or unauthorised visitor that they are being tracked and recorded, a security response is en route, and they should leave the site immediately. In instances of opportunist crime, this may prevent a security breach from taking place.

Deploying a Rapid Response Security Team

If the site is part of a mobile patrol service or has active guards on duty or performing perimeter patrols, ARC responders can be instructed to communicate immediately with the relevant personnel as soon as an alarm trigger has been activated.

Security teams can then advise if they would like the ARC team to contact the emergency services or if they can de-escalate the situation.

Emergency Services Liaison

Where a serious issue is suspected, or a break-in attempt is being live-recorded, ARC responders can contact the police straight away – this protocol may be an override when an occurrence meets certain threat assessment thresholds.

Contacting the police in an emergency can multiply the chances of successfully apprehending intruders while communicating all the important details about where and how a crime is underway.

Responders can also be tasked with summoning the ambulance or local fire service in other emergencies, where they have identified through CCTV footage that somebody is injured or unwell, or smoke or fire detectors indicate a high likelihood of serious developing risk.

What Are the Rules Around CCTV Monitoring and Data Protection?

ARCs are purpose-built, high-security facilities with stringent access controls and verification of all visitors or colleagues – CCTV footage is only accessible by personnel with the appropriate credentials.

Clearway’s NSI Gold II accreditation is a testament to the outstanding quality controls in place. Our independently awarded status assures clients that we handle their surveillance footage and alarm information with the highest levels of security.

During live monitoring following an alarm activation, only permitted responders can view footage, ensuring that it remains confidential regardless of the nature of the alert.

There are additional rules and regulations applicable to CCTV footage, where individuals captured on recordings can submit a request to access any footage in which they appear and are recognisable. However, individuals cannot view footage of anybody else, so the business’s data officer should deal with any such requests in compliance with data protection and privacy rules.

In some instances, the police may request access to CCTV captures to assist with incident investigations, in which case the business should provide access wherever possible.

CCTV Monitoring as part of your security strategy

CCTV monitoring provides a significant reassurance that if a crisis unfolds or an emergency occurs on your site, a trained, skilled responder will be on hand to initiate a calm, appropriate response to protect your site, staff and assets.

Many businesses choose to integrate CCTV monitoring as part of a broader security strategy or can introduce compatible access controls into the mix, where respondents can lock down a site and prevent intruders from escaping while a security or emergency response is inbound.

For more information, get in touch with our security specialists here at Clearway. Our knowledgable staff can provide advice specific to your security concerns. 

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