What are audio warnings and how do they work?

Issuing an audio warning

 

Audio warnings are an essential part of remotely monitored CCTV security systems. However, they are often overlooked. With the focus often being on the type of CCTV cameras being installed and the type of remote monitoring service required, processes like audio warnings are often seen as just that – a process.

In fact, they are vital in making CCTV systems an effective deterrent to intruders: making CCTV a preventative security measure as well as a reactive one.

What are audio warnings?

Audio warnings are announcements made via a site’s security system. These announcements can be heard at the site but are issued by security operators based away from the site, normally at a remote monitoring station.

CCTV cameraHere is a step-by-step process that occurs when an audio warning is issued:

  1. A security detector installed at a site detects unusual activity.
  2. The CCTV cameras will start to record footage.
  3. This footage is then sent to the remote monitoring station where the security operator will review it.
  4. The security operator will work to identify the cause of the alarm and at the same time start to monitor live footage from the CCTV cameras.
  5. If the operator sees an unauthorised individual at the site they will speak into a microphone.
  6. The operator will say a warning into the microphone, which is transmitted live to the site.
  7. The intruder will hear the announcement.

It’s important to note that, in this case, the audio warning is a live announcement:

The announcement is made in reaction to an alarm and it is not pre-recorded. A live announcement makes the intruder aware that they are being monitored live and that the police will be notified if necessary.

What is said in an audio warning?

Because we only ever issue live audio warnings here at Farsight, we are able to tailor them to the situation.

Our standard audio warning is:

“Your attention please, this is a security announcement. You’re being monitored on live CCTV. This is private property, please leave now or further action will be taken.”

Our security operators are instructed to issue a specific audio warning for car forecourts – high-risk, open sites. This announcement is made during the day, when the car forecourt is closed:

“Your attention please, this is a security announcement. You are being monitored on live CCTV. Unfortunately this car forecourt is now closed, please return when a member of staff can be of assistance.”

At a car forecourt after dark, our security operators will say:

“Your attention please. This is a security announcement. You are being monitored on live CCTV. Unfortunately this car forecourt is now closed, please leave.”

Security operatorAt specialist sites, such as at petrol stations that have remote monitoring and remote forecourt control, our security operators will say something similar to:

“This is a security announcement. You are being monitored on live CCTV. The pumps have been stopped because [insert reason]. Please stay with your car and await assistance.”

Our security operators can personalise each audio warning (an important factor at directing a message at individuals and making them aware that a security operator is viewing them live).

For example, security operators could say:

“To the gentleman in the red top, your attention please…”

Or, in the case of a mobile phone being used at a petrol station:

“To the individual on the phone at pump six, your attention please…”

Importantly, all of our audio warnings are clear, polite and to the point. We understand that many individuals entering a site will not have criminal intent. However, the security of the site remains a priority and with unauthorised individual(s) present the site is vulnerable.

An audio warning, in the majority of cases, will deter the intruder and return the site to full security again.

Why are audio warnings important?

Audio warnings make security a preventative solution. Without audio warnings, CCTV footage would simply be recorded and reviewed retrospectively – after the damage has been caused.

Audio warnings will deter intruders from a site – they will become aware that they have been spotted and that the CCTV footage could be used in evidence. Not only that but they will be aware that the police will be notified if the situation escalates. As a result, thousands of pounds could potentially be saved, which could have been lost due to damage and theft by the intruder.

Security operators will issue an audio warning rapidly. Security operators are trained to react quickly, according to a response agreement.

Where is the evidence that audio warnings work as a deterrent to intruders?

In January 2015 we issued thousands of audio warnings to sites across the UK. Approximately only 1.5 per cent of those audio warnings were escalated to calling the emergency services.

As a result, over 99 per cent of those incidents were potentially diverted as a result of audio warnings.

In many of the cases in the 1.5 per cent, however, intruders brazenly remained on the site despite audio warnings from our security operators. It’s in these incidences that we see the importance of remote monitoring beyond audio warnings.

If an intruder does remain on site security operators will continue with the site’s agreed response plan. This may include contacting key holder’s to make them aware of the situation and calling the police alerting them to the intrusion. Again, this process will be carried out with the upmost urgency.