- Security TWENTY
- Women in Security
Foxlake water park in Dundee docklands opened in summer 2018. It offers a floating assault course; for birthday parties and corporate bookings, and stag and hen parties. Zak Hegarty, Foxlake Dundee’s manager, says: “Because of our location, right in the heart of Dundee city centre, we’re quite near a lot of pubs,” Hegarty says. “And sometimes a 3.5m floating inflatable tower looks pretty inviting to someone with a quantity of ale in their system – it looks like an irresistible challenge.”
The risk was of accidental or deliberate damage or vandalism – and injury or worse to those who might intrude on the park, in the dark, unsupervised. Hegarty’s first instinct was to look at the option of manned guarding out of hours. Brian Davidson of Webster Security & Fire, a local installer, Webster Security & Fire, had noted the development with interest. He approached Hegarty.
Davidson says: “I introduced myself as I saw they were opening, and was invited initially to look at a CCTV system,” Davidson says. “This then blossomed during further conversations into a proactive, remotely monitored CCTV solution. They were looking at going down the route of employing manned guarding for when the site was closed, but we thought this [CCTV] would provide a cost-effective and workable solution that offered the same level of protection.”
Foxlake Dundee sought a system that needed to be remotely monitored, and based on some form of movement detection – on a site which itself was constantly moving, due to Tayside’s changing tidal waters. Davidson got in touch with the manufacturer Hikvision in Scotland.
Hikvision thermal cameras were fitted to detect activity on the jetties. Also in use are GJD motion detectors that with Hikvision cameras can pick up movement on approach areas. Further Hikvision cameras monitor the internal office reception areas, and other Hikvision cameras providing a security, health and safety and management overview of the assault course and the paddle and wake-boarding areas. A public address tannoy system is also connected to the video surveillance.
The Hikvision thermal bullet cameras highlight areas of heat difference in the field of view. A human body is always visible as hotter than its surroundings, particularly at a marine or waterfront site. The thermal cameras also use behaviour analysis software, so figures moving into specific zones in the image can automatically generate alarms.
The advantage of thermal cameras for a water-based site like Foxlake is that they can operate in all weather – they’re not impeded by fog, mist, heavy rain or snow, the sorts of conditions that could affect even advanced conventional cameras.
The other cameras at Foxlake Dundee have Hikvision’s Darkfighter technology, allowing for video monitoring and recording in even low light. The system records to a Hikvision eight-channel DeepinMind network video recorder, which uses AI (artificial intelligence) to learn to filter out false alarms and raise alerts.
In the evening, after normal operating hours, the site is locked up and alarms are set. It’s then remotely monitored by Corps Security, whose monitoring centre in Paisley in Scotland is alerted when the thermal cameras or motion detectors pick up any movement on the site. Operators check the live cameras to check any intrusion and respond. If an intruder is detected, they ring Foxlake management, and can contact police if required. At the same time, the Corps can use the PA system to issue warning announcements remotely, to tell the intruders they are being monitored. The effect, Hegarty says, is almost instantaneous. “We’ve had three incidents since the system was installed, and the response by the intruders is pretty remarkable. I’ve reviewed the footage, and compared it to the time notification I’ve received a missed call on my phone: you can see the intruder on the video footage hear the warning, and then they’re off. They just leave straight away. It’s amazingly effective.”
Overall, Hegarty adds, Foxlake Dundee is really happy with the video surveillance. “The video footage quality is very high and we’re glad we haven’t had to go down the manned guarding route, as similar facilities have done. We appreciate that Webster and Hikvision took the time and thought to design something that would work for us in our specific circumstances. Of course, the proof is in the performance, and the fact that a number of intruders have been quickly and effectively warned away is evidence that it is doing the job it was designed for.”