Clacksfirst – a Business Improvement District (BID) managing ten business parks and industrial estates across Scotland – has reported a 50% reduction in crime after the installation of an innovative IP-based Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) surveillance solution.
Axis Communications and partner organisation Boston Networks (the IP video integration specialists) successfully won a six-way tender to secure the project for a proposed ANPR system that would not only collect number plate details but also identify vehicle models and signage, as well as identify people inside vehicles and pedestrians entering and leaving the estates business estates by day or night.
The installation was to be the first CCTV security measure implemented by the management firm in an effort to increase safety and deter criminal behaviour. A key priority was to reduce incidents of theft, which were becoming an issue for the 200-plus businesses based on Clacksfirst’s sites.
Nick Platt-Higgins, key account manager at Axis Communications, explained: “Axis cameras were deployed around the ten sites with the aim of providing a safe and secure environment for the businesses to operate and tackle anti-social behaviour like speeding, as well as crimes like metal theft. The Axis solution is three cameras in one: a high quality, HD image during the day, Lightfinder technology if we need it on a 24/7 basis and also, at night-time, a very crisp mono image for the specific identification of vehicles, their number plates and the drivers.”
Greater depth of field
The Axis P1354 Fixed Network Cameras deployed in Clacksfirst BID are fixed day and night cameras delivering H.264 performance in a robust design. Superior video quality is provided with progressive scan in multiple individual H.264 streams as well as motion JPEG streams.
While the P1354 comes supplied with a precision iris lens, this project required a greater depth of field. To elevate this issue, cameras were configured with a specialist lens supplied by Axis Communications’ technology partner Theia Technologies.
Infrared lighting was provided by Axis partner Raytec for the delivery of sharp images at night. By using Raytec’s Vario infrared lighting units, it’s possible to capture high quality images of all vehicle number plates at night. This configuration also enables image glare from vehicle lights to be eliminated.
Edge-based video motion detection analytics are used inside the Axis P1354s to ensure only scenes with vehicle or pedestrian movement are captured and recorded.
Milestone’s XProtect professional video management software was used to record, manage and securely distribute video recordings rapidly in case of incidents.
Incident capture following ‘go live’
Paul Goodbrand, operations director at Boston Networks, said: “Axis Communications’ solution was particularly valuable in terms of what we were trying to achieve. The lighting levels in some areas of the business parks were virtually nil, so the cameras with Lightfinder technology have worked very well for us. Using that and a combination of infrared illumination allows us to deliver a solution that the client wants – great daytime visibility along with clear night time images.”
Shortly after the new system went live it captured an incident where a delivery lorry backed into a wall at night, causing considerable and costly damage, before leaving the scene without reporting it to Clacksfirst BID. Images from the surveillance footage allowed the police to quickly identify the registration of the vehicle, the coloured livery on the lorry and even the driver’s face.
Brian Gibson, chief inspector of Police Scotland, commented: “The new Clacksfirst BID system is of a high enough quality to deliver reliable and watertight video evidence in case of security incidents. It ensures that criminals think twice about committing acts of criminality and, when a crime has occurred, the business park can simply provide easy access to images for the police.”
Swift return on investment
Following system installation, Clacksfirst BID has seen a 50% reduction in crime across all business parks in the BID since it began managing them. In addition, the new system has delivered a return on investment in under 12 months from ‘go live’. Park business owners and their employees report feeling more secure, while instances of metal and machinery theft has been virtually eliminated.
Kevin Deighan, project and community safety manager at Clacksfirst BID, concluded: “Return on investment was achieved in such a short time frame primarily because the new surveillance system proved to be a highly effective deterrent to potential criminals. Through implementation of this IP CCTV system we have moved so much closer to delivering on our five-year business plan for those companies resident in the parks and industrial estates who supported us. It also helps us send a clear and positive message to businesses outside Clackmannanshire which might be persuaded to relocate into the county as a result of our improved security record.”