HD CCTV Systems in Schools
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Over the past 6 months, there has been some of discussion about HD CCTV systems in schools, focusing on the installation of cameras in changing rooms and toilets. Indeed, working with schools to design and install HD CCTV systems is difficult and requires sensitive handling to deliver solutions that are proportionate, cost effective and safe guard privacy.
However, it is worth reviewing the value of either HD or IP CCTV systems in schools and potentially those risks identified in the media.
Firstly, in our experience the majority of schools install CCTV to protect the perimeter of the site. This means as the school is in ‘loco parentis’ (meaning having responsibility for our children), they take this responsibility seriously to ensure no intruders or inappropriate individuals gain access to the site and therefore the children. Additionally, this responsibility is mandated by OFSTED and schools are required to secure the site by using HD CCTV, Access Control and/or Intruder Alarms.
Some Schools go further than securing access points to the site, by installing HD CCTV systems in the School buildings. This is for a number of reasons, including:
– School management and footfall monitoring
– Behaviour observation
– Prevention of bullying and peer to peer violence
– Prevention of vandalism and theft
– Identification of unauthorised individuals in school
Effective CCTV systems which are HD or IP quality and installed appropriately, provide the above benefits and enable the School to operate more smoothly. In our view, security systems in Schools are only a tool to achieve some of the above benefits. However, they do not replace teachers, classroom assistants or other professionals in schools. Secondly, is the over-reliance on CCTV to address problems either the school or client is experiencing. For example, installing HD CCTV will not address anti-social behaviour on a deprived estate but will help to catch perpetrators. This means other measures are required to address problems, using our systems as part of the solution, to deal strategically with problems that address the root cause of the issue rather than managing outcomes. Sometimes these ‘outcomes’ or behaviours migrate to areas which are not covered by CCTV, this does not mean that installing cameras is the only option but should only be considered if justified, proportionate and ensure privacy.
In some ways, by installing CCTV cameras in changing rooms or toilets has caused so much furore as the public feels this is an invasion of privacy and possibly supplants the role of professionals to address problems.
We believe that HD CCTV, Access Control and Intruder Alarms is only part of a solution to address problems. We support schools (and indeed most of our clients) to look at their challenges in the round and help design solutions which are proportionate, innovative and effective.