As we move into 2022, we wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on 2021 and look ahead.
For a great many businesses, 2021 was another challenging year with so many factors overshadowing the drive for recovery following the easing of lockdown restrictions in Spring. Everything from a fuel crisis, shortage of HGV drivers, supply chain issues driving up demand (and costs) of materials – not to mention the direct impact of the pandemic on staffing, customer footfall, retail sales performance and the rest.
The effects of these factors has impacted security too. As a leading alarm & CCTV remote monitoring station, Farsight has had a ‘birds-eye view’ of emerging crime trends affecting security across the UK – with opportunists and criminal gangs alike exploiting these unprecedented times to make gains. Since lockdown restrictions were eased in April, our alarm & CCTV monitoring teams have seen a measured surge in security incidents targeted at businesses of all shapes and sizes, as well as residential premises.
As an indication of this surge in the frequency of intrusion attempts and other security incidents, the Farsight operations team issued a whopping 100,000 CCTV audio deterrent warnings and escalated over 10,000 incidents to emergency blue light services and keyholders during 2021 – and that’s just the business premises that we monitor.
This increase since April is echoed nationally when looking at police reported crime figures – for example there were 124,243 burglaries reported to police across England, Wales and NI between April-Oct 2021. (read more in our article: Burglaries continue to surge pre-Christmas).
Of course, it is not just reported numbers of burglaries that saw a sharp increase, so too did theft from person, robbery, vehicle theft and perhaps most worrying violent crime. You can see the figures across these crime categories here: Latest 2021 UK Crime Figures Revealed
The pandemic has helped fuel a great many specific crime trends, with criminals capitalising on rising demand and ‘black market’ values – for example, Farsight issued several security warnings following increases in metal thefts, wood theft and even fuel. Let’s look at some of these:
Another surge in metal theft incidents ahead
The most publicised metal related theft is by far catalytic converters which contain precious metals that include rhodium, platinum and palladium. In 2021 theft figures peaked in March and showed a decrease until July – however, with demand and global prices for these rare metals surging again from September as the automotive industry recovers we have seen a sharp spike in thefts and thefts attempts all over again – an increase we fully expect to continue into 2022.
Other metals too are back in demand, such as lead. Subsequently, with scrap values rocketing again, heritage buildings and places of worship with leads and copper roofs are back on the menu for unscrupulous criminal gangs. In fact, we published an article recently looking at this type of crime in more depth which posed the question: Will a surge in lead thefts test church security again in 2022?
Many of the churches being targeted for their lead are in rural locations, but thieves are not just targeting these – farms and rural businesses have seen a massive surge in incidents too.
Rural crime surge
In line with international demand in farm machinery, vehicles and equipment like GPS devices, tractors, diggers, quad bikes and even fuel for example – farmers across the UK have seen a spike in theft incidents and are being forced to reconsider the security measures they have in place to protect their premises, assets and people.
Back in September, Farsight published a detailed article looking at the biggest threats to farm security and as an NFU Professional Member and CCTV Partner we work extensively with farmers to help protect what’s theirs. In fact, during 2021, we have been featured in the Forestry Journal Site Security Buyers Guide, as well as in the Midland Farmer and Anglian Farmer security features.
With approximately 70% of land in the UK categorized as ‘rural’, this poses a vast target for unscrupulous thieves looking to cash in on demand for agricultural machinery and equipment on the European black market.
This has forced farmers to reconsider whether the security defences they employ are adequate to protect their sites from thieves who have them in their sights and are willing to go to extraordinary measures to get what they want. Numerous reports have even seen hi-tech drones with cameras being used to case farms to identify where the equipment is and access points they can use.
With government estimates of 76,000 commercial and public sector drones in our skies by 2030 – we recently published an article exploring how this could impact security – you can read more about the use of drones by criminals here: Drone Security Threats are Growing.
Construction site thefts rose too
Construction sites saw a 50% increase in crime since 2019, however, in 2021 the impact of plant shortages further drove demand and high values in the second hand market – with good condition second hand machinery selling for more than they were bought for a year ago. The direct correlation between the demand for construction plant machinery and a continued rise in construction site theft incidents is hard to ignore.
Read more on this: Post lockdown construction site theft continues to surge in 2021.
High demand for construction site equipment is expected to continue well into 2022 and on top of that a ‘perfect storm’ is brewing: the use of red diesel to power construction site vehicles and machinery will be banned from April this year making on-site fuel highly attractive to thieves targeting white diesel which is significantly more valuable.
Of course, it is not just thieves that threaten site security, with break-ins from youths getting up to no good causing security managers major problems when climbing site equipment for fun. Read more about this in our article ‘Farsight talk to the Times about urban explorers and construction site security’
Some of Farsight’s key highlights from 2021
Here at Farsight, we are not ones to stand still for long and have remained at the cutting of the remotely monitored security industry, working closely with our leading hardware and software partners to take the fight to crime. We highlight some of our key achievements in 2021 below:
Farsight Awarded ‘Best Remote CCTV Monitoring Specialists – UK’
We acknowledge the dedication and vigilance of the entire Farsight team in giving our clients the peace of mind that their premises, assets and people are protected to the highest standards.
This has been particularly important during the unprecedented times we have all seen over over the past 18 months or so, and continues to be the case as we dig in to mitigate the crime surge we are seeing since April this year too.
Farsight prides itself on its commitment to vigilance, innovation and high levels of service, and this award recognises these qualities. However, as nice as it is to win an award, what remains the priority for Farsight is how our customers feel about us – see our customer reviews here.
Farsight listed as one of the best security industry blogs
Open communication in the security industry is vital and keeping our fingers on the pulse on what is happening within the CCTV, security and crime prevention sectors is important to us at Farsight. Our news and blogs sections of our website are packed with the latest information, news, trends and security updates to keep those interested in security related issues in ‘the loop’.
Farsight achieved Cyber Essentials Certification
Underlining Farsight’s ongoing commitment to cyber security we were delighted to achieve Cyber Essentials Certification in 2021. This certification provides an assurance framework that is evaluated across five main technical controls: Internet gateways & boundary firewalls, secure configuration, access control, malware protection and patch management.
Why is Cyber Essentials Certification so important to Farsight?
– Our Cyber Essentials Certification gives both us and our clients the peace of mind that our defences will protect against the vast majority of common cyber attacks. In fact, many attacks are looking for targets which do not have the Cyber Essentials technical controls in place. Farsight’s mantra is our commitment to vigilance and that includes protecting ours’ and our clients’ data online.
– We work with public sector clients, where the Cyber Essentials certification is now mandatory to demonstrate a commitment to cyber security.
– In addition, as a leading Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) we are looking forward to the roll out of the Electronic Call Handling Operations (ECHO) in early 2021. Alarm installations installed by police recognised approved companies and monitored by approved alarm receiving centres (ARCs)/ monitoring centres can be ECHO-connected, but must also be Cyber Essential Certified.
Farsight one of the first ARCs to become ECHO-Connected
Farsight is proud to be among the first Alarm Receiving Centres (ARCs) to become ECHO-connected in 2021 – fast tracking alarm signals to the Police. As a leading ARC, we know that every second counts when an alarm is raised and efficiently facilitating a fast police response when necessary is vital in protecting premises, assets and people.
ECHO (Electronic Call Handling Operations) is set to transform intruder and hold-up alarm signal handling to police. By switching from traditional telephone communication between Farsight and participating Police Control Rooms, to an ECHO-connected process, police response times can be improved by as much as 4 minutes. This means we can facilitate a more efficient and effective deployment of police resources to alarmed premises.
Farsight works extremely hard to stay at the cutting edge of security systems, software and technology innovation to continue to position Farsight at the sharp end of the remote security monitoring sector in the UK. Joel Babb, Farsight’s CTO says this about ECHO:
“ECHO is the result of an industry response to the needs identified by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and will allow the communication between ARCs and Police Control Rooms to go digital by utilising a standard national approach. Ultimately, this means of improving communication and the ability for us to facilitate improved blue light response times is a major advancement and we look forward to working with ECHO as it rolls out to police forces across the UK.”
Farsight embraces new tech enabling Alarm Visual Verification
Simultaneously monitoring triggered alarms and CCTV footage in itself is nothing new to Farsight – indeed we do this all the time for clients where we monitor both systems independently. However, traditionally these two security defences are treated very separately by the security industry. However, as a leading remote security monitoring centre we have embraced new tech from our partners to allow the roll our our brand new monitoring service – Alarm Visual Verification.
This new technology enables our operators to visually verify the cause of an alarm being triggered by viewing footage from internal security CCTV cameras – a huge step forward in reducing false alarms and protecting police URNs. After all, seeing is believing with CCTV…
Read more about this here: What is Alarm Visual Verification?
Remote monitoring role continues to expand beyond security
Most people are used to the idea of remote monitoring services being used to help keep sites safe from a security perspective. However, in 2021 we saw the role of remote monitoring being utilised in a broader way by many businesses to meet modern challenges, especially within the facilities management sector.
Increasingly the demand on modern FM’s to find solutions for connecting multiple sites has brought remote monitoring solutions into their own. IoT along the evolvement of technology, software and the tools to do so, forward thinking central stations are delivering real-time coordination and response solutions to safety, security and emergency response to help keep large estates with multiple sites connected through a ‘single pane of glass’.
Whether the objective is managing the smooth running operational continuity of an estate, environmental efficiencies or safeguarding staff and personnel across multiple sites in a connected ‘safe zone’ to manage resources and ensure crime, personal duress and risk incidents are management effectively – modern remote monitoring central stations like Farsight could provide the right solutions – contact us to find the right solution for your estate.
Read more about remote facilities management services from Farsight here: What is Remote Facilities Management and how is its role expanding?
Looking ahead to 2022
Farsight has so much planned for 2022, from new technology rollouts, new partnerships and remote monitoring services – we are super excited to share these all with you in due course.
Looking for a Remote Security Monitoring Partner in 2022?
Based at our cutting-edge, purpose built central monitoring station, which is the largest in Europe, Farsight provides a range of remote security monitoring solutions that our clients have the peace of mind they need. Farsight’s renowned ‘Commitment to Vigilance’ is second to none as is our communication and reporting transparency.
Farsight provides the following remote monitoring services:
- CCTV monitoring
- Intruder & Fire Alarm Monitoring
- Remote Access Control
- Lone Worker Protection
- Out of Hours Call Handling
Bringing a site to us for for CCTV monitoring is easy, see how: Commissioning Process
If you are a security systems installer and are reconsidering your own supply chain or wanting to work with a monitoring station that you can rely on to support you, let’s talk. Call us on 0845 371 0101 or drop us a line below: