WE’VE been talking up video monitoring for a few years now – in more recent times this has been motivated by NSW Police’s decision to attend alarms where intrusion is confirmed by video verification. It’s compelling news to find that the sort of the video verification solutions we’d like to see more of are proving themselves in the field. 
According to Richard Day from building products supplier James Burrell (which manages the Ossett site) builders’ merchants carry an extensive and valuable range of products stored on large premises that are open to everyone. 
“Traditionally, builders’ merchants have been a prime target for thieves because of the sheer volume of materials on site. However, as a result of more up-to-date systems and stock management procedures, the criminals have now focused their efforts away from daylight hours to the hours of darkness and weekends when merchants are closed for business.”
When the Ossett branch of James Burrell was set-up, there were real issues in the first 6 months of trading, with criminal incidents such as theft primarily occurring at night or on Sunday mornings.
“The site we took over at Ossett is on an industrial estate, which is pretty typical of today’s builders’ merchants,” says Day. “This means that, after working hours, the whole area effectively becomes a ghost town. No-one is around to deter criminal activity.”
As a result of growing security concerns, it was decided to opt for a remotely monitored, detector-activated CCTV solution supplied by RemGuard Visual Management to protect the Ossett branch. 
That solution consists of cameras and detectors placed strategically around the site linked by specialised RemVu Aquila transmission equipment to RemGuard’s BS 8418-compliant RVRC (Remote Video Response Centre). Here, RemGuard’s operators can visually confirm what is happening, call up on-screen plans of James Burrell’s Ossett site and even issue verbal warnings (via on-site speakers) to any intruders. 
RemGuard’s experience across the sites it monitors suggests that this step alone is a sufficient deterrent in over 90 per cent of incidents, stopping crime before it actually happens. If necessary, the RVRC operators can also alert the police who, as the incident is confirmed visually, should provide a priority response.
“From our perspective, we have achieved a favourable return on investment by going down the remotely monitored, detector-activated CCTV route,” explained Day. “The most obvious benefit is that there have been no successful criminal attacks out-of-hours since the CCTV was installed, whereas in the previous six months we had considerable losses due to theft. To put this into perspective, our total losses from theft have now dropped by 80 per cent.”
Day then pinpointed another advantage to the remote monitoring solution chosen. “When the detectors are set-off, the RVRC operators are able to use the CCTV images to ascertain the seriousness of any incident and decide who needs to be informed – whether it’s me, one of my colleagues or the police – rather than issuing a blanket alert to everyone.”
Apparently, remote monitoring allows the whole of James Burrell’s vast Ossett yard to be covered effectively, rather than just the small office area. “The flexibility of the system means that I can access the same images as the RVRC in our office during business hours, and at other times using viewing software at home,” said Burrell. “For added security, all members of staff also have designated passwords which they need to provide to gain entry.”
Following on from the positive experience at Ossett, James Burrell decided to roll out RemGuard’s solution to a second location at Bishop Auckland.
“It’s satisfying to see the dramatic change which our service has made to the security of James Burrell’s Ossett branch, particularly when you consider the 80% reduction in theft,” said Alan Collinge – the operations director at RemGuard. 
“Time and again, remotely monitored, detector-activated CCTV has demonstrated that it’s ideally suited to large-scale sites where more conventional solutions are simply not cost-effective or able to stop criminal attacks before any real damage is done.”
Importantly, Remguard also operates in Australia using the same technologies and a similar service is available from Suretek. Security managers should seriously think about video monitoring of high value remote sites. Evidence suggests that compared to most other options they offer excellent results with a minimum capital expenditure, particularly if legacy surveillance systems can be co-opted into the system. 

“The most obvious benefit is that there have been no successful criminal attacks out-of-hours since the CCTV was installed, whereas in the previous six months we had considerable losses due to theft.”