Security on the Move

Security on the Move

Security vehicles, with infrared cameras, for rapid deployment help protect government officials during visits to remote, unsecured venues.

Total security in today's environment requires more expertise than ever before, with more and more governments increasing their investment in security systems. This, in turn, has given security teams the opportunity and resources to acquire more sophisticated equipment for the job.

Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, in particular, have all seen a growing requirement for specialized security vehicles to reinforce the ability of security services to operate in remote areas or venues. A project to develop such a vehicle was recently initiated by several British companies acting in cooperation: Meridian Distribution U.K., a specialist service dealing with the design and implementation of custom-made security products for overseas governments; Vedesco, a specialist vehicle design consultancy; and Norbain SD, one of Europe's largest distributors of video surveillance, access control and intrusion detection equipment.

The fruit of this cooperation is a command and control vehicle designed for presidential security teams. It has been designed according to exacting specifications to help ensure the safety of the president when traveling to remote or unsecured venues. The vehicle features, among other equipment, advanced MIC400IR aluminum infrared surveillance cameras from Bosch Security Systems which were specified by Vedesco and supplied through Norbain SD.

Providing mobile security and rapid response
The command and control vehicle is a 26-ton Mercedes truck, measured at 6 meters by 4 meters, which acts as a platform for security services to organize and effectively control a venue or event. This allows the president to safely visit more locations than would otherwise be advisable. Thanks to the unit's video surveillance element, security personnel have a more tactical view of the surroundings.

The facilities on board are extensive: a conference room with an LCD projector; satellite communications for voice, fax and data communications; encrypted radio transmitter/receiver; kitchen and bathroom; operations room and other made-toorder systems. The advanced kit includes cellular jamming, explosive device detection and metal detection systems, which are available as a portable gate that can be positioned outside the truck.

The command and control vehicle holds 12 wireless cameras which can be deployed to view up to one kilometer away from the vehicle. These include two MIC400 aluminum fully functional Bosch PTZ cameras with integrated wipers to ensure that they operate regardless of weather or environmental conditions. With a rating of IP68, the cameras are well protected against the weather and extreme temperatures, and offer a high level of vandal resistance should the cameras come under attack. The equipment is also heat-protected.

The MIC400 aluminum range is ideal for rapid deployment applications, thanks to their compact size, rugged design and flexible mounting options that allow the cameras to be installed upright, inverted or canted at a 45-degree angle. Full 360-degree continuous rotation pans and a 320-degree tilt gives the operator an enhanced view, ensuring all areas around the vehicle can be covered. Additionally, the cameras' virtually silent operation ensures that sound does not resonate through the mast on which each is installed, a common problem with many other PTZ cameras.

Combining performance and robustness
All cameras are controlled via a matrix, which has facilities for four operators in the control room. Radio contact equipment is used for wireless transmission of images and is very simple to set up; operators just need to switch it on and point it in the right direction.

"All components of the kit were chosen with performance and robustness in mind," said Steve Woodhead, MD of Vedesco, whose company project managed the vehicle build and coordinated the installation of the video surveillance cameras with wireless networks and portable power solutions. "The cameras can all be deployed quickly and can operate unattended for up to 48 hours."

However, installing the equipment for such applications presented some challenges of its own, as "everything had to be carefully protected against the vibration and shocks that come with driving over rough terrains," said Woodhead.

Parvez Ali, MD of Meridian Distribution U.K. said, "It's immediately obvious that they've carried out a good job. I inspected it recently with the head of presidential security who coordinates operations and uses the vehicle on a day-to-day basis. He was happy with the completed project."

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