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Spreading Surveillance to Save Lives

Source: Submitted by Milestone Systems and Alvarion | Date: 05/23/2009

Related tags: camera, video management software

From cameras to video management software, to failsafe and efficient network connections, city surveillance solutions involve various specialists, spreading the burden of improving public safety to rest upon the shoulders of security providers.

Scyron Brings Criminal Evidence to Court
West Midlands Police is the second largest service in the United Kingdom. Its jurisdiction is at the heart of England, serving almost 2.6 million residents across major cities from Birmingham and Coventry to Dudley and Wolverhampton. With more than 12,000 staff and officers, West Midlands Police maintains law and order across a 348 square mile area.


The force's Major Investigation Unit (MIU), based in different locations across the Midlands, comprises of an Evidence Presentation Team of six to manage audio-visual evidence from serious incidents spanning from rape and murder to kidnapping and fraud.


After the Aston Riots in 2006, West Midlands Police set about tackling the issue of processing vast quantities of images by using technology for more effective use of evidence – from pinpointing through to presentation in court - to help secure convictions. Using Scyron's non-linear presentation software system, 50 different potential offenders from the riot were tracked and there was a significant increase in productivity.


"This electronic collaboration was like suddenly adding new officers onto the investigation as it immediately cut through the workload in contrast to the previous manual system,” explained Michael Wilks, CEO of Scyron. “Also, importantly, it gave Senior Police Officers leading the investigation crucial management information standardized in one format on a Microsoft-based platform for the first time.”


Presentation of Evidence
It was vital for officers to be able to quickly compile evidence that was clear and easy to follow for the jury. Scyron and West Midlands Police jointly developed a system that could present evidence instantly with minimal training for officers, without recourse for specialists outside video companies that still had to be overseen by officers. “We now have a flexible presentation system to meet the needs of the 21st century judicial system in the U.K. We can switch easily to present different incidents. For example, we can immediately pull up the required evidence to satisfy questions from forensic scientists or the prosecution, and speed up presentation of evidence to support the judicial process,” said Andrew Townsend, Detective Sergeant of West Midlands Police.


Officers have found that presenting video evidence to a defendant while being questioned results in more guilty pleas, saving police time. There is also the potential for new evidence to be cross-referenced with existing electronic evidence from other investigative units to tackle crime.


Milestone Looks After Residents of South Africa
Wireless IP video ensures proactive suburb security, delivering more than just traditional reactive guard services in Parkhurst and Parktown North, adjacent suburbs of Johannesburg, South Africa. This up-market residential area of 4,000 homes, schools, churches, shops, restaurants and businesses has become a paragon project for ADT, Milestone Systems and Axis Communications.


ADT central offices lie over a mountain ridge from the suburbs of Parkhurst and Parktown North, and they wanted both central and local monitoring for a new video surveillance system to be a proactive tool to ramp up their guarding services of foot patrols and mobile armed response vehicles.


The Milestone-Axis video system formed an integral platform for the area's security network, greatly enhancing ADT's resources in the suburbs. The total security solution includes a communication network with twoway radios and mobile phones connecting all foot patrols, response vehicles and patrol units. This creates a security ring in these suburbs, proven highly effective in fighting crime.


Two Suburbs' Security Controlled As One
Parkhurst and Parktown North are now effectively controlled as one area. In the past there was a relatively high crime rate and large numbers of resources were assigned to address this. Today, patrol vehicles, street guards deployed in guard huts and bicycle patrols in action are all integrated services talking to one another on the same frequencies, so authorities are aware of situations that develop and can control their resources to respond quickly.


Video images are relayed wirelessly from the localized clusters of cameras to the central point in Rosebank, where they are recorded in the Milestone software and viewed in Sandton over the Internet. With images recorded 24 hours a day into the video management software, evidence can be delivered to the police, and video analyzed to discover crime patterns.


The Milestone interface for viewing camera images can show images at once on one screen and simultaneously pull up a hot spot window for a larger view of critical areas. Operators can also rotate all cameras through this feature for a constant overview close-up. This integrated video and alarm system involves the community to give the residents of Parkhurst and Parktown North extra coverage, using surveillance as a comprehensive tool in combination with their armed services to address crime.


Alvarion Secures President Obama's Inauguration
On January 20, 2009, in Washington, D.C, while the world's eyes were on President Barack Obama's historic inauguration, Alvarion's wireless WiMax solutions were amongst other networks used by the U.S. government to ensure the safety of top U.S. leaders and large crowds during the day's ceremonies.


Protecting government officials and citizens on this day was crucial and took years of careful planning by the U.S. government. The network built by the government included commercial solutions by various companies at multiple frequencies. Part of the surveillance network positioned around Washington Mall monitored crowds with Alvarion's multipoint wireless broadband solution designed specifically for public safety applications, which operated in the licensed 4.9 GHz frequency.


With continued emphasis placed on public and personal safety, governments and agencies around the world need dependable wireless solutions to gain access to critical databases and ensure the safety of civilians and property.

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