As a public education centre, schools have a key responsibility to ensure the ongoing safety of both their students and teachers while on school premises. CCTV camera surveillance systems are increasingly being used in schools to maintain safety and security, allowing school and faculty staff to focus on their responsibilities and to prevent any undesirables from gaining access to the site.
There are many reasons why a school would choose to install CCTV cameras on the premises. In order to help you understand both the advantages and disadvantages of CCTV cameras in schools, the Farsight team have put together the below guide.
During School Closures
Schools are often targeted by intruders during out of hours periods, such as weekends, nights, term holiday periods or other events that result in closures. Many premises have hi-tech or high value equipment on site which they need to protect as well as deter anti-social behaviour that can result in criminal damage, theft, vandalism and in some cases even arson.
There are several security measures to consider to both deter and prevent incidents happening on school premises during out of hours periods. The Department of Education published guidance security measures which include lighting, fencing, equipment storage, alarms and CCTV. We discuss the benefits of remotely monitored CCTV systems, showing real incident prevention examples, in our article entitled ‘Why optimise school security with CCTV remote monitoring?’
This article looks at the current surge in out of hours burglaries and intruder related incidents, and is packed with advice links to help your school to plan optimal security management. To read ‘Why optimise school security with CCTV remote monitoring?‘ simply CLICK HERE
Once a child arrives at school, whether they walk, cycle, travel by bus or are dropped off, parents expect their safety to be a priority. However, as the number of students attending each school continues to increase, the likelihood of incidents, crime and violence sadly also rises. CCTV surveillance systems are excellent deterrents against incidents occurring during school hours, whether that is bullying, unauthorised access, or vandalism.
Security cameras can help to keep student safety at the forefront and can be used to identify bottleneck areas on the school premises. Are there certain corridors that are densely packed during the start of the day or when classes let out for break times? Are there doors to external areas that become jammed with a large number of students using it as an entry/exit point? Could a better travel system be implemented, such as one-way travel, staggered break times for year groups or dedicated entry points for certain year groups?
CCTV systems used in combination with footfall heat-maps can provide answers to all these queries and can monitor changes in foot traffic as the year moves through different seasons and weather conditions. By identifying particularly busy or cramped areas, efficient student evacuation routes can be better planned with student safety in mind.
Staff safety is equally important, and everyone has the right to feel safe and secure during working hours. CCTV cameras, alongside Remote Access Systems, give teachers peace of mind that the only individuals on-site are the people that should be, without concern about intruders and can concentrate on the needs of their students in the class.
Equally, CCTV cameras provide teachers with protection against potential false threats of misconduct and can provide video evidence for liaison between teachers, students and their parents. With support for personal alarm systems and panic buttons, teachers can rest assured that should there be an incident in the classroom that leads to them feeling intimidated, threatened or at risk, help can be requested without leaving students unattended.
Preventing Anti-Social Behaviour
Unfortunately, schools still regularly fall victim to vandalism and theft onsite, particularly over the weekends and holidays when the school is usually unmanned. CCTV systems that are focused on problem areas such as sports equipment sheds, cycle storage areas and any external outbuildings that lie away from the main building, act as a great deterrent against opportunistic thieves and vandals.
Additionally, schools can be hot areas for anti-social behaviour from drug dealing and alcohol-related incidents through to being popular areas for rough sleepers and occasionally, trespassing traveller communities, who can be difficult to remove from the premises once they have set up camp.
CCTV systems alone will ensure you are able to provide recorded evidence of a break-in or active vandalism however, remote monitoring services from Farsight can take your security from purely reactive to proactive.
Should our remote monitoring system flag suspicious activity, an alert is sent to the team at the Farsight Observatory for a live operator to identify the unwanted visitor. We will issue an audio alert warning them away from the premises while contacting the necessary emergency services. Usually, the audio warning is enough to encourage the trespasser to leave and has been proven to be very effective across a range of industries and commercial sites that have implemented CCTV systems alongside our Remote Monitoring Service.
Authorised Visitors Only
Student and teacher safety begins when you can see who enters and exits the premises, making sure that they have proper authorisation and are not trespassing on the property. Many parental concerns lie in how easy it is for people to walk on-site at school without any problems, calling into question the safety of their children when at school.
Security cameras can provide the perfect solution to prevent unauthorised people from entering the site and keep a record of any students leaving the school grounds without permission. CCTV allows you to monitor individuals entering the school premises, and anyone who raises suspicion can then be alerted to other staff or, where necessary, emergency services.
With support for intelligent video analytics, facial recognition and appearance search technology, looking for a perpetrator or suspicious individual no longer require an individual to spend hundreds of man-hours assessing video footage. Up to date, modern surveillance technology allows for search terms to be input to the analytical software that automatically tracks and identifies the wanted individual.
Alternatively, video assessors can select a person of interest in the footage and the video analytics will show all instances of where this individual (or individuals very closely matching their appearance) occurs in the visible footage.
Schools are extremely busy locations with a constant movement of faculty and students. By utilising an overseeing intelligent surveillance system, schools can be confident they not only have comprehensive view coverage, but time is used efficiently when tracking alterations and security issues.
Looking for greater control over who has access to your building or property? Farsight provides Remote Access Control as part of our remote monitoring services and we can provide improved regulation for authorised visitors.
Schools are becoming increasingly aware of emergency situations that call for students to be evacuated in a timely manner. While circumstances such as active shooters aren’t common in the UK, threats of a bomb scare, students carrying knives and other violent alterations have been reported across multiple UK schools in the past year.
In situations like these, students might become separated from teachers and end up turning away from the safest evacuation route in the building. Security surveillance cameras will identify problem areas throughout day-to-day monitoring and allow schools to make necessary adjustments to ensure a quick and efficient evacuation. Used in combination with footfall heatmaps, schools can plan evacuation routes around heavily used or tightly spaced areas and remotely monitor exits to ensure they are always kept clear.
While evacuations are taking place, remotely monitored CCTV security cameras can be used to identify any students that are still in the building, should they need to be rescued by emergency services. Persons of interest can be tracked as they move from room to room or the location of suspicious packages identified without having to send someone into a potentially dangerous situation.
Additionally, external remotely monitored security cameras provide a visual feed that can be used to identify those who have been successful in leaving the building and keep track of where they gather after leaving the property.
This can be particularly important with emergency fire situations, where visibility from the ground is often obscured by smoke. We can help faculty identify where the fire is, what alarm was triggered and if the trigger is a false alarm, allowing teachers to focus on evacuating students and ensuring the safety of their colleagues.
For the teacher’s safety, our remote monitoring systems are supported by many quality panic alarms and silent alarm buttons. With greater control over alerting faculty in a timely manner, without notifying a potential violent threat or suspicious character or the need to leave their students unattended.
There are plenty of advantages of CCTV cameras in classrooms but in most cases, CCTV is simply reactive, providing footage after the incident has occurred. By combining CCTV camera security systems with a remote monitoring service, you can be alerted to incidents as they happen. This will ensure that you are able to take the steps necessary to correct the situation or be better prepared for future emergencies.
Placement of CCTV Cameras in Schools
Knowing where to place CCTV cameras in your school requires some careful planning, especially where budgets are concerned. When you are restricted to a set number of CCTV cameras, you’ll want to consider the type of camera you choose to install. For example, wide-angle lens cameras allow you to see a broader field of view covering more potential blind spots but restrict the depth of which you can see details clearly.
CCTV cameras also need to be placed at the optimal height to allow for a broad scope of view without preventing necessary maintenance. Recommended heights for installing CCTV cameras are at 2.5m and 5m, although the height you choose will be better determined by the size and height of the rooms, corridors or areas you are installing cameras.
It’s also important to consider the data recorded by CCTV cameras and how this should be secured to protect the school and students. Our Farsight Observatory offers unbeatable security, with a securely fenced perimeter used in combination with access control, protected windows and a comprehensive CCTV security system, you can rest assured that stored data is not making its way out of the centre in any physical form.
For digital peace of mind, we utilise secure Cloud Storage. Providing us access to your footage when required while taking advantage of enhanced levels of cloud storage security, including advanced firewalls, intrusion detection and encryption.
Intelligent video analytics and appearance search technology, when used for forensic or judicial purposes, can be exported with blurred footage surrounding the point of interest. Providing an extra layer of protection for students and faculty that aren’t involved in a security report and complying with the latest in privacy measures and data protection requirements.
Farsight has put together a comprehensive guide for Where to Position CCTV Cameras in Your Business which will provide further information on recommended areas of installation, suggested camera angles and additional CCTV installation advice.
Peace of Mind Security for Your School or Education Establishment
At Farsight, we have over 20 years’ professional experience in monitoring security systems from schools, colleges and universities across the UK to construction sites, commercial property and domestic applications. CCTV cameras are remotely monitored 24/7 from the Farsight Observatory and our professional operators are trained to the highest standards in recognition of suspicious individuals and behaviour – so you can feel reassured about your buildings’ security every day.