UK Historic Town Embraces Modern Public Surveillance

UK Historic Town Embraces Modern Public Surveillance

Tamworth is located 23 kilometres northeast of Birmingham. It has a resident population of approximately 80,000 but also attracts a large number of visitors wishing to enjoy the Town's restaurants, shops and tourist attractions including Tamworth Castle. The Council considers the security of its residents to be of paramount importance and has also looked to provide a safe environment for people who visit the Town Center. There is therefore a zero tolerance attitude to anti-social behaviour, vandalism and theft. With this in mind, the Council invested in a CCTV system some years ago which could monitor activity 24/7 within the Town Centrer. The existing CCTV system comprised 77 cameras which were all wired directly to the Town's control room where they were recorded for twelve hours a day on analogue VCRs.

“Our old analogue based CCTV system had done a good job over the years but it was clear that we were missing out on the advantages that the latest advances in digital and IP network based CCTV technology could deliver,” said Larry Phillips, Tamworth Borough Council's CCTV Control Manager. “

Each of the three manufacturers' proposed solutions were evaluated for the quality of the images that could be recorded in different environments and lighting conditions at varying frame rates. Additionally, the ease with which recorded incidents could be retrieved and backed up was part of the test criteria, as was overall operator friendliness. Recording tests were conducted at 4, 8 and 16 frames per second, as well as in real time.

With only limited funds immediately available, Tamworth Borough Council decided on a phased approach that would eventually lead to the Town Centre having a comprehensive CCTV system which capitalized on the very latest technology. The priority was to provide control room operators with an easy to use system that delivered high quality images at the required frame rates for any given situation.

Phase 1 started the process of upgrading from analogue to a network-based video management CCTV solution. It involved the installation of a Vicon Kollector recording platform with an external RAID5 array to record and store images being observed on the control room's four spot monitors. As well as recording and storing high quality video at frame rates to meet the client's demanding specification, the Kollector is also able to provide functionality which could not be achieved by the previously installed analogue recording equipment. The Kollector can be used as a workstation allowing authorized users from anywhere on the network to view live images or retrieve recorded video. In addition to the instant ten second playback of an incident, the Kollector Pro also has a Smart Search function allowing hours of video to be scanned in minutes in search of specific events.

Phase 2 saw the installation of two further Kollector recorders to further add to the recording capacity of the system. Phase 3, which has just been completed, involves the provision of a Vicon ViconNet workstation designed to make it much easier for control room operators to monitor and control the Tamworth's 59 analogue cameras and 18 IP cameras. In addition, Vicon SVFT fully functional domes with integral IP cards have been installed at various locations surrounding the town. Images from these dome cameras are transmitted via a wireless link to the control room.

Phase 4, to be completed during 2010, will see the provision of additional Vicon vandal resistant domes which can, if required, be rapidly deployed at identified crime hotspots throughout the Town Centre. ‘Duct feet' allow the domes to be put in place quickly or moved to another location and in order to keep costs to a minimum, images from the dome will be transmitted to the control room over a wireless link system to be installed by ADT.

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