CCTV (closed circuit television) is a well-known and extensively used measure to record surveillance footage. However, even the most technologically advanced CCTV cameras have limited benefits without the provision for remote monitoring, where they become a passive rather than a reactive method to improve security and prevent criminal activity.
Monitoring services provided by Clearway’s NSI Gold accredited Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) ensure that CCTV systems are effective and practical, whether to stamp out the potential of security threats or to boost business health and safety.
In essence, CCTV monitoring means your third-party provider has an always-on connection to your system, with automatic alerts to signal when a camera trigger or alarm has been activated. This ensures that a trained responder is on hand 24/7/365 to take appropriate action.
How Does CCTV Monitoring Work?
Connecting your alarms, CCTV systems and other safety assets, such as fire alarms, to an Alarm Receiving Centre eliminates all of the typical issues linked with unsupervised alarm systems, such as:
- False alarms being sent to an owner or a keyholder, often in the middle of the night.
- Elevated risks of responding to an assumed false alarm only to find a break-in or criminal activity in progress.
- Not finding out until the next working day that an intrusion, theft or damage has occurred.
- Having audible alarm signals that are undetected or ignored due to the location of the business.
- Discovering evidence of tampering, vandalism or theft without sufficient CCTV footage to help the authorities apprehend those responsible.
Monitoring station staff don’t simply receive and note the alarm activation, they work through a series of protocols to identify the cause, assign a priority rating, and respond accordingly, whether to deactivate the alarm, contact on-site security, liaise with the police, or summon emergency services.
In most cases, alarms and CCTV cameras are set off by false alerts such as wildlife. Still, where a genuine intrusion occurs, this immediate response can be invaluable in protecting your staff, assets and business from potential loss, damage and harm.
How Does a CCTV Alert Reach a Monitoring Station?
The Alarm Receiving Centre is operational at all times and can monitor various alarm systems simultaneously, including fire alarms, smoke alarms, security alarms and CCTV surveillance cameras.
Its role is to receive every alarm or alert and initiate the appropriate response to intrusions, fire, suspicious activity, accidents or trespassing. The exact protocols will depend on the business and are tailored to your requirements, but generally:
- Alarms and security networks are linked to the Alarm Receiving Centre or engineered to transmit a secure signal when a trigger is activated.
- The monitoring station receives the notification and analyses the situation, often by accessing CCTV cameras to review the footage and identify the cause.
- Operatives make a professional judgement about whether the alarm is false or whether there is legitimate reason to believe it may require a physical response.
- Where they cannot ascertain the cause, responders may dispatch the nearest security team, mobile patrol, or another assigned keyholder to investigate further.
- If the response team discovers or believes there is an emergency or crime underway, they will follow the pre-determined protocols, often contacting the site owner and police.
A proactive, efficient and robust response can stop a theft in its tracks, help the police apprehend prospective intruders, or ensure any ‘tests’ of your alarm systems demonstrate an exceptional level of security protection that is invulnerable to break-ins.
Why Is CCTV Monitoring Important?
CCTV monitoring services are just as valuable as the quality and performance of your CCTV cameras themselves. Many organisations rely on security surveillance and cameras yet cannot define how these assets would prevent theft or stop a criminal from entering their premises.
The around-the-clock nature of a CCTV monitoring service means that anything suspicious, unusual or untoward will immediately be flagged and evaluated. That could include trespassing, security breaches, smoke, a fire or a workplace accident.
Alarm Receiving Centre staff are trained to respond quickly and decisively, with zero delays to an alarm being triggered or a CCTV camera being activated and a qualified responder picking up on the issue.
Contacting the police, deploying security teams or liaising with a mobile patrol is considerably more likely to prevent a crime or intrusion from being successful. In contrast, many criminals, particularly organised gangs, know that most alarm systems are passive and simply emit an audible warning or siren.
Whilst genuine alarms are rare, the resources required to respond to false call-outs, often at irregular hours, can be costly. Some businesses have on-site security teams overnight or on weekends, but the time spent responding to false alarms may mean they overlook other concerns.
CCTV monitoring means that either third-party patrols, in-house security, or the police only ever respond to incidents that are confirmed as, or very likely to be, legitimate threats. Some businesses even find that active monitoring negates the need to invest in all-hours security teams, where a mobile patrol can respond quickly if an alarm is confirmed as authentic.
For companies operating in higher-risk environments, such as construction teams, CCTV monitoring can be a cost-saving health and safety measure, reducing the potential for accidents or incidents and ensuring managers are immediately alerted if anything occurs, such as a fall, trip, or equipment failure.
Preventative Fault Analysis
The typical reasons alarms and CCTV systems initiate a trigger without an identified cause are because of wildlife, weather conditions or a fault in the system, such as broken wiring or an oversensitive sensor.
Using a CCTV monitoring team means you have a comprehensive log of all alarm activations, when, where and why they occurred, making an issue obvious and ensuring it can be corrected quickly and before security is compromised.
Cost-Efficiencies of CCTV Monitoring
Finally, the cost of CCTV monitoring is significantly lower than the expense of replacing stolen items, recovering from a break-in, or the increase in insurance premiums usually levied against businesses with elevated risks and without a pre-emptive security monitoring system in place.
Business owners can rest assured a qualified team of responders has a watchful eye on their systems while they enjoy lower insurance costs and never need to budget for additional staff pay related to out-of-hours call-outs to respond to another false alarm.
To learn more about the benefits of our CCTV monitoring service please contact one of the Clearway specialist team. We protect the people, property and assets of countless businesses throughout the UK