CCTV - what's in it for you?

Identify behaviour problems
When students know their behaviour is being monitored, they are much less likely to behave badly. You can monitor trouble hotspots during break times and lessons changes and direct support staff to diffuse problems before they arise. If a member of staff reports an incident that happened earlier, you can review footage within seconds from your desktop. As a result of CCTV, one of our schools discovered that students regularly climbed in and out of a classroom window during break-times.

Combat vandalism
One of the most significant and irritating drains on the school budget, acts of vandalism can often be resolved within minutes of being reported. CCTV footage is instantly retrievable, and a Smart Search can do in minutes what hours of trawling through tapes would have taken. Even relatively minor incidents, such as pulling over stacks of chairs, drain hours of available time from premises staff.

Improve fire safety
Related to vandalism is the discharging of fire extinguishers. Often perceived as a 'prank', some students have no concept of the safety issues at stake. At one of our schools, two students were identified discharging a fire extinguisher within two weeks of cameras being installed. Their parents were called-in to face the humiliation of watching CCTV footage, along with an invoice for the cost of replacement. News of incidents such as these quickly spreads, reinforcing the CCTV deterrent value.

An excellent deterrent
Prevention is better than cure, and although catching a culprit in the act does bring a sense of satisfaction at the tables being turned, avoiding incidents occurring in the first place is preferred. When students are aware that CCTV has been installed, and especially after a few well-publicised cases of people being caught-out, the deterrent value of CCTV is very high.

Resolve thefts
We have found CCTV to be highly effective in resolving theft, even for areas not directly monitored. With a digital CCTV system, all camera footage is synchronised and can be simultaneously viewed. This enables a suspects to be identified by a process of elimination. In a recent example, a teacher reported an LCD monitor missing at 14:05 and that it was last seen in the classroom at 13:15. Cameras were situated at one end of a nearby corridor and at a stairwell at the other end. A review of the footage of these two cameras between these times showed a number of students passing through, but one student took several minutes longer to pass between the cameras. He was intercepted in his lesson, and an LCD monitor was found in his school bag.

Detect burglary
Schools have always and will always attract burglars. Large, open premises, often with limited protection and many vulnerable opportunities for entry, a school can provide a rich bounty of IT equipment and other valuables. Whilst CCTV should never be the first line of defence against such attacks, it does serve as a very effective deterrent, and if correctly specified and installed, will provide satisfactory evidence to enable identification and the safe conviction of offenders.

Eliminate bullying
An inherent element of playground behaviour, there will always be bullies and those who are bullied. CCTV can provide an account of what happened, thus relieving the burden upon the victim to be the sole provider of evidence. For example, you could choose to tell the bully that you spotted the incident yourself and not reveal that it has been reported by the victim. Additionally, victims of bullying will feel reassured by the presence of cameras, and know that camera locations provide a safe haven. CCTV cameras never sleep and will record and retain all activity for as long as you specify.

Target truancy
Truancy can be difficult to monitor, especially in larger schools. During lesson-time though, a lone student wandering the corridors sticks out like a sore thumb on CCTV. Students 'bunking-off' lessons can be easily identified.

Identify unauthorised visitors
Even in the largest of schools, it is very easy to spot unauthorised visitors. If they are not in school uniform, they are not a member of you staff and they are not wearing a visitors badge, they are remarkably easy to spot and intercept. If an unknown person is reported on the premises, a quick glance at the CCTV cameras will immediately locate them.

Improve timekeeping
Latecomers in the morning, early departers in the evening and late attendees to lessons can all be identified. Addressing this type of discipline 'creep' early can prevent other discipline problems from becoming established. All footage is time-stamped and synchronised to the server's clock, and provides powerful and compelling evidence to show to a student.

Improve conditions for students
All too often, the vast majority of well-behaved students suffer due the actions of the delinquent few. Vending machines have to be de-stocked, common rooms have to be emptied, PCs have to be removed from study-rooms. However, a small dome camera fitted above a snack vending machine allows the machine to remain fully stocked and functional for the benefit of all students.

Improve child safety
Aside from the more obvious child-safety elements, such as visitor screening, there are many other equally effective benefits. A single, well-positioned camera overlooking the bicycle racks will deter 'pranksters' from loosening wheel nuts. A camera on a stairwell will identify those who push & shove.

Provides irrefutable evidence
CCTV footage provides objective and irrefutable evidence. It removes the need to pick the bones out of differing accounts of who-did-what, and instead presents objective facts. When dealing with internal incidents, it reduces the time, energy and distress of resolving conflicts. With major incidents, it provides evidence that police and prosecutors can use to secure a conviction.

Instils a sense of security for parents, students and staff
The presence of CCTV is reassuring to staff, students and parents. It gives staff the support they need in dealing with incidents, and can provide protection against malicious allegations. For parents, they know their child is in a safer environment. And for students, they are reassured that some of the issues mentioned above will be mitigated.