Thurrock Council, a unitary authority in Essex, UK, has upgraded its aging CCTV network with state-of-the-art IndigoVision IP technology that has drastically reduced the amount of time council staff and local police need to spend reviewing footage. As a result a number of crimes, from theft to anti-social behaviour, have been detected and arrests made.
Thurrock Council is dedicated to reducing anti-social behaviour for the benefit of the community. As one of the first councils in the UK to use wireless technology for CCTV, it has consistently been at the forefront of surveillance technology, and was keen to replace its aging network with the best equipment available.
The old system had 220 cameras in 28 locations, linked to local recorders with fixed storage capacity. As the cameras were motion activated, memory was quickly full in busy locations before that time was up and important footage often overwritten. IndigoVision’s authorised partner ClearView Communications was managing the fixed solution and understood the challenges and the limited budget available for upgrading. They worked with Thurrock Council’s CCTV manager Gary Weatherly to develop a cost-effective but high quality solution, using IndigoVision’s technology.
The original analogue cameras have been retained and linked to a new central back-up system with over 30 terabytes of memory. Live and recorded images are viewed over a wireless LAN network, on new plasma screens in the council’s control room. Five re-deployable cameras have also been added and can be sited anywhere they are needed. The footage is transmitted to the control room using 3G mobile networks. The new IndigoVision system offers better resolution and framerate, and the amount of storage required is significantly reduced because of IndigoVision’s advanced compression technology and the use of its unique Activity Controlled Framerate (ACF) feature. ACF controls the framerate of the video stream based on the amount of motion in the scene.
IndigoVision’s advanced motion search capabilities allow police to quickly pinpoint time and images on recorded footage, letting them get to the evidence they need quickly. As the police require 50 – 100 pieces of footage a week, this saves a considerable amount of time. Police can also access the CCTV control room at any time day or night, and target a specific area. The new system also includes an audit trail, printing images onto DVD using LightScribe optical disk recording technology and a template that includes a unique reference number. Three copies are generated so there is less chance of images getting lost or being challenged in court on a technicality.
Gary Weatherly says: “The upgrade with IndigoVision’s technology has seen a significant improvement in the quality of CCTV evidence and ease of operation. Management and operators alike are delighted with the outcome, and the support that we’ve received.”
The project was completed ahead of time – in two years, instead of three – and reuse of the cameras kept costs low, allowing the upgrade to be covered by the council’s operating budget. Due to IndigoVision’s scalable architecture, more cameras can easily be added and the system expanded when needed in the future, with no system downtime required.