CCTV - is only part of the security solution

CCTV is typically introduced as a solution to a crime or disorder problem, often as a spontaneous reaction to problems that have occurred.

It is seen as an all-powerful technology by some people. Suggestions are often voiced that if CCTV is installed, it is the total solution to the problem. However, although CCTV is an extremely useful technology, it is best used in conjunction with a number of other crime prevention measures. These other crime prevention facilities include physical security measures, access control, and response and guarding facilities.

Physical security includes fences, barriers, alarms and perimeter protection. These are all measures to prevent or restrict access to an area or goods, to alert security personnel to the presence of someone in an area, to channel the movement of personnel or to warn of violations of some kind. CCTV cannot provide a similar barrier function.

It can, however, complement physical security measures through auditing of facilities, detection of breaches, providing a follow up investigation function and identifying causes of alarms, and even replacing some of the alarm functions through video motion detection and other video analysis techniques. In this context, CCTV has an important part to play in maintaining the integrity of physical systems that can be broken, breached, or bypassed.

There is also a reciprocal relationship between some aspects of physical security and CCTV. For instance, lighting has a direct impact on reducing crime, but is also required to create the conditions under which CCTV can function effectively. I have heard on a number of occasions when the effectiveness of a CCTV system has been compromised because the available lighting is not enough to deliver appropriate results to the system.

While CCTV can assist with physical security, it cannot replace it, and in fact it requires it. The need for secure CCTV control rooms and the protection of operators and data is a simple example of this.

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- The Hackett Security Team

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