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Case Studies

Mobile CCTV unit at London clubs

Surrey-based CCTV Training & Logistics has been contracted to deploy their mobile CCTV unit to cover security duties at nightclubs in London.

Fire and Lightbox nightclubs at Vauxhall, with a capacity of over 1500, have tasked the mobile CCTV unit to help reduce the likelihood of drugs misuse from clubbers queuing to go into the nightclubs. Professional Security featured the area in its August 2016 print issue while seeing the Friday night briefings of door and venue staff on Clapham High Street (pictured).

London nightclubs have long suffered from problems in identifying drug misuse and recently, Fabric nightclub was closed, as featured in Professional Security in November 2016, due to the lack of proper drug abuse control. Vauxhall has a number of busy nightclubs at risk from drug misuse.

Fire and Lightbox’s owners are serious about preventing this and the mobile, with its high definition cameras has been identifying a number of clubbers hiding and using drugs while queuing. The mobile has radio contact with door staff and club search teams as well as contact with Lambeth public space CCTV and the Metropolitan Police. This all combines to provide images to identify persons hiding or using drugs.

Those people are refused entry when confronted by security and images can be shown to the individuals if necessary to prove the point. The clubs are keen to ensure a zero tolerance on drug misuse and the mobile helps to achieve that.

The Met Police are also grateful to have the mobile CCTV unit in place, as other offences locally are reduced due to the high visibility deterrent of the vehicle. Recently, a man was detained by police in possession of over 300 nitrous oxide capsules, a psychoactive substance, now banned under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. He was seen on camera selling the “balloons” to people in the street, an offence which now attracts up to a seven year prison sentence on conviction at Crown Court.

Prior to this Act becoming law, Lambeth was one of the first boroughs in the UK to ban possession of the substance locally, and since the appearance of the mobile CCTV, use of the capsules has reduced to almost none.

Gordon Tyerman, MD of CCTV Training & Logistics says: “When we first started monitoring, there were upwards of 50 capsules lying on the road. Since we’ve been covering weekends, this has dropped to almost zero. We’ve also identified a number of “clubbers” in the queue trying to hide drugs or indeed taking them whilst queuing. The clubs are being sensible in using the mobile to keep drug misuse under control. Of course, some slip through the net and the club security are good at identifying people and ejecting them. We can then monitor those ejected for behaviour. Local residents are very happy to see the mobile in place, as it helps keep unruly behaviour to a minimum.”

Images he adds can be copied immediately for the police. In one case, when persons were detained nearby, copies were processed and given to the police before those arrested had arrived at custody. As Gordon says, this speeds up the processing of those detained and helps the custody officer to decide of further action much more quickly.

In February, a stabbing on the underground (not connected to the nightclubs) involved a number of persons who later walked past the mobile unit. Images helped to identify the offender to the extent that CCTV could show he had wounded himself in the hand during the attack.

Gordon adds that the unit deploys at events over the year, including music festivals, carnivals and horse racing (at Epsom and Ascot).

The vehicle is also used for practical assessing as part of the SIA CCTV Operator course training, so students get to use live CCTV as part of their exam. Gordon Tyerman is no stranger to Professional Security, and he is part of the Advisory Council working with the Surveillance Camera Commissioner on the new CCTV National Strategy. He is chair of the CCTV National Standards Forum, with membership from a number of end users of CCTV.


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