Axis camera system strengthens Burnley Football Club security

Axis camera system strengthens Burnley Football Club security

Mission
Burnley Football Club needed a new CCTV system to replace the ageing analogue-based system that was no longer fit for purpose as it planned its promotion back into the Barclays Premiership - the UK's top football league. Following a tender process the contract for upgrade and management of the new video surveillance system was handed to Axis partner Thorne Access & Security in early July 2014. Thorne is an expert in stadium security having installed surveillance systems in the stadia of Liverpool FC, Blackburn Rovers FC, Preston North End FC, Bolton Wanderers FC and Manchester City amongst others.

Solution
Thorne designed and installed a new in-ground safety system which focused on tightening security in two core areas – at the entry turnstiles and inside the bowl of the stadium itself. A combination of AXIS Q6045-E PTZ Dome Cameras and AXIS Q1765-LE fixed cameras were deployed inside the stadium bowl while 14 legacy analogue cameras were retained to cover concourses in the new hybrid CCTV and IP video system. The Axis cameras were chosen for their ability to deliver razor-sharp images using 18x optical zoom capability even if located at the opposite end of the pitch over 120 metres away. At these distances this camera can provide images capable of positive identification and help the club's ground safety team spot issues before they escalate.

Result
The setting-off of pyrotechnics inside grounds has been a dangerous new trend in UK grounds over the last 12-months. The Axis cameras enable operators to spot unusual behaviors such as looking down to light a firework or smoke bomb. It also enables the grounds safety team to identify the actual person lighting the fuse. So even if, as is often the case, the pyrotechnic is kicked along the stand before it begins to flare up shrouding the area in colored smoke, it is still possible to clearly identify who committed the offence of setting it off. The same is true of people throwing objects onto the pitch, towards players or linesmen. The new system has also helped reduce ticket fraud at the turnstiles significantly.

Axis camera system ensures positive identification
Burnley Football Club, established in 1882, is one of the oldest football clubs in the world. The club is set in the heart of the old mill town of Burnley in Lancashire. The stadium has a capacity of 21,500 and enjoys average gates of over 19,000, with up to 4,000 of these being allocated to away supporters on match days. Burnley FC was promoted into the Barclays Premiership (England's top league) at the end of last season. The move to the Premiership league triggered a multi-million pound facilities & IT upgrade which included funds for the upgrade of the ageing analogue-based CCTV system to a hybrid IP and CCTV system using Axis network cameras and Mirasys hybrid NVR system.

A total of 64 new cameras were installed covering the stadium, turnstiles, and concourses outside the bowl and behind the East Stand. The new system also provided total coverage of all 40 turnstiles through which fans pass on match days. Cameras trained on each turnstile capture images of the individuals showing their tickets at the turnstile. A new electronic ticketing system enables security staff to view images of the owner of the ticket on-screen as fans pass through the gates. Those thought to be using the wrong ticket can then be tracked and positively identified via the new cameras. This additional layer of surveillance has reduced ticket fraud significantly as adults trying to enter the ground with concession or child tickets are easily identified and then stopped.

Inside the ground during the first four months of the 2014/15 season Burnley FC's ground safety team, working with Lancashire Constabulary (who locate themselves in the stadium's control room on match days) have been able to positively identify a number of people committing public order offences or putting other fans or players at risk. Two convictions have been handed down following pyrotechnics-related offences which were caught on the Axis cameras within the first four months of deployment. The Mirasys system, operating on three 10TB capacity servers, records, manages and enables rapid distribution of video recordings in case of incidents.

Mirasys Spotter and Media Exporter software is used to rapidly recover and export relevant recorded images to DVD if the police need to take further action to prosecute an individual. A total of 3TB of video data is collected by the system each match day.

Doug Metcalfe, Stadium and Operations Manager of Burnley Football Club, said, “Thorne recommended the right solution for us to provide total coverage at the turnstiles and in the bowl of the stadium. The Axis cameras proved to have the power to deliver positive identifications rapidly so we can act quickly to catch perpetrators and remove people if they jeopardise the safety of other fans.”

Cliff Edens, Ground Safety Officer of Burnley Football Club, said, “The Axis cameras have proved of sufficient quality and reliability to identify individuals in the crowd, pinpoint their location and helping us to act with confidence to warn or remove offenders depending on the severity of the incident. Evidence of disorder can be quickly exported and given to the police to support further action against identified individuals. There is no doubt that Turf Moor is a safer place now that we are able to access these HD quality images.”

Hadrian Thorne, Managing Director of Thorne Access & Security, explained, “We have selected the excellent AXIS 6045-E PTZ Dome and AXIS Q1765-LE cameras for their 18x optical zoom capability, 0.6 lux, robust housing, Electronic Image Stabilisation and the 1080p HDTV images that they deliver over long distances. The lenses on these cameras are brilliant. The fact that we can gain a detailed view of a person sitting in the away supporters' west stand from a camera situated some 125 metre away, fixed on a pole just below the roof of the east stand, says it all. The camera also offers highlight compensation which eliminates glare from floodlights. Axis' service support is also excellent. Put simply, Axis gives us the peace of mind that we will be able to meet all our stadia customers' requirements.”

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