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Council Keyholder

How Southampton City Council sought a key holder protection programme for the council?s property portfolio.

When Southampton City Council increased their property portfolio and took on property previously looked after by Hampshire City Council, a tender process was put into place to appoint a new security company. Security company CSS Total Security of Hampshire were successful and have been successfully working with Southampton City to provide intruder protection for schools.ÿ CSS projects range from multi-million pound security systems for Heron city in Valencia to relatively simple tele-surveillance systems.
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Keyholder need
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Luke Pearson, Electrical Services Manager for Southampton City Council, whose role is Security Co-ordinator at the Council, identified an urgent need for a keyholder service in schools due to issues surrounding current keyholder safety, time spent at an alarm scene and the costs associated with attendance.
Consideration was given to using a guard company to carry out a keyholding service with the responsibility of contacting the police for back up if required. CSS were asked to provide this service as part of a pilot project in 150 of the council?s schools and buildings.ÿSome 50 have added protection through CCTV. Previously, the school keyholders were required to arrive on site with the keys to the school in time for the arrival of police, placing them needlessly at risk if they arrived first.ÿ Another problem occurred if the keyholder lived some distance away and could not arrive quickly enough, resulting in the police being called away to attend a higher priority incident elsewhere before the keyholder arrived. If the incident were then found to be a false alarm the keyholder would have to wait for the alarm company to arrive to fix the problem. The national response time for this service currently stands at four hours.

School survey
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Initially CSS arranged for every school involved in the project to be surveyed by a trained security technician.ÿWritten instructions were also distributed specifying the best way to gain access to premises in the event of an alarm sounding. A central monitoring station was established to monitor all the alarms on the project. These stations hold the keys for all the schools on the scheme. Key removal is monitored through security tagging.ÿ When a key is removed and the security tag broken, this is logged for reference purposes. When an alarm is triggered, the monitoring station will immediately send trained security staff to the site.ÿ CSS current response time is one hour and in some cases as little as 20 minutes. The service provides additional solutions: if an intruder has already fled, the caretaker can take comfort in the knowledge that the premises has been re-secured, often involving a broken or open window being boarded or closed or, if it is a false alarm, the guard can obtain a re-set on the alarm. If a technical fault occurs, a CSS engineer can be called out.ÿ
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Where CCTV

On premises with 24-hour CCTV, a guard will attend the premises to investigate suspicious activity, thereby helping to prevent crime and alleviate the pressures on the local police. Most intruders spend more time surveying a possible entry into premises but very little time inside. It not only means less risk and time wasting but also has bought piece of mind into the bargain. With the cost savings made from not having a traditional manned guarding service a continuous improvement programme has been implemented by the council and CSS to allow for on-going security improvements and protection for schools, including increased CCTV and the correct interfacing of new technology as it becomes available. The annual cost of minimising vandalism on one site was œ38,000.ÿ This has now been significantly reduced as a result of using CCTV to less than œ2,000 a year.
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What they say

Luke Pearson, Electrical Services Manager for Southampton City Council, whose role is Security Co-ordinator, said: ?CSS were successful in their tender because they placed the needs of our customers first. They have achieved our primary objective, which is to secure our properties and minimise any risk to staff.ÿ CSS provide an excellent service both on site as well as keeping us up to date with the latest security technology.? Roberto Fiorentino, Managing Director of CSS Total Security says:ÿ?We have been able to offer Southampton City Council the most effective and comprehensive system.ÿ By setting maintenance budgets low, we hope to increase spending on surveillance devices and further improve the effectiveness of the service we deliver.ÿ I hope the quality of the service we provide, along with the openness in the way we conduct our business, will make for a long and successful partnership.?

About CSS
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CSS is a member of NSI The National Security Inspectorate, who recognise, inspect and regulate firms who install, maintain and monitor electronic security systems.ÿThey also appear on Hampshire Trading Standards list of approved companies. For details on surveillance systems and site installations contact CSS on 023 80788422 or visit www.css-security.co.uk


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