Perimeter security essentials – III

September 2014 Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection

Software and recording is another layer of security. Using a tried and tested brand is better. There is no excuse for a fatality. All of the cameras must be ONVIF compliant, along with the viewing software. It should be easy to view, understand and operate. Using multiple screens and alarm pop-ups is important. The IVA functionality and motion detection makes it easier with fewer staff and less hardware. As previously discussed, the IVA functionality does create false alarms, but it also creates a log.

Using different video resolutions, video compression, IVA capable cameras and camera setup will determine the amount of recording required. One month is a reasonable amount of time to keep the log before it is over written. There are many calculators available on the Web that will help calculate the size of hard drives and bandwidth required. This software should be installed on a PC that is the latest and fastest available and is not an entry-level unit. More memory is always better. DVR or NVR recording devices should have hard drives that run in raid or, in layman’s terms, mirror each other. If one fails, no recording will be lost. These devices should be under lock and key.

Mounting of perimeter cameras

This is more complex than you may think. When doing a site survey at camera points, one must take lighting and mounting fixtures into consideration. The vulnerable side of the wall must be visible by the camera. The camera must also be mounted inside of the wall and the bracket must pass over the top of the wall, allowing for a better viewing angle. The camera may be damaged or removed if it is not safeguarded by one of the other layers.

The average security camera will not have an image stabiliser built in, so the bracket must be constructed from the correct material for that environment. The camera should not be affected by wind turbulence or vibration.

Coating or protecting the pole from corrosion or environmental conditions is critical for longevity. Using concrete poles within the estate is more aesthetically acceptable than steel poles. This is not always possible on the perimeter. If the pole is installed into the ground, a steel tapered pole will be more effective. These are normally very costly. If the mounting is going to be installed on top of the wall or on the side (brick and mortar), use a 50 mm x 50 mm x 2 mm square tube or even larger in windy areas.

The steel poles must be coated on the inside and it must be sealed on both ends. The wiring for the lights and for the camera must be run inside the pole and not cable tied to the outside of the pole. This is more expensive, but it eliminates problems later on. UV stable PVC conduit can be used with glands on both ends. An earth spike and cable must be used on each bracket. It is not recommended to mount a heavy camera and brackets to a light duty precast wall. A lighting conductor can also be mounted to the pole higher than the camera. The earth cable must go directly to earth spike as straight as possible.

The cameras need to be secure by using as many security layers as possible, i.e. the IP network, the wall, the camera mounting height and the cameras themselves. There are a number of ways of doing this:

* One camera looking on to the back of the next. This is great for infrared lighting.

* One camera looking at the next one about 10 metres apart to avoid taking up too much of the image frame. This design will not work if the cameras are fitted with infrared.

* Having two cameras on the same pole looking away from each other and a dome type camera looking directly down. This is very heavy and requires a very large pole.

Electric fencing

Like camera brands, there are many different brands of energisers and electric fencing equipment. An electric fence forms an integral part of the security layers. It will not stop criminals altogether, but done right, it will stop the opportunist and slow the committed. There is old legislation and new legislation regarding an electric fence. When selling a house, an electrical certification is required for an electric fence. It is imperative to get a brand name product and to use a recommended and certified installer.

The energisers are normally backed up with a battery (GEL filled) so it is less important to have backup power for this. An IP-based communication or serial communication directly to the energiser using the Ethernet backbone is an area where money can be saved. This communication will allow for alarms as well as controlling the unit. Using an Ethernet based digital input and output unit will work, but this creates more points of failure.

On smaller estates and complexes only one or two energisers are required. The downside of using fewer energisers is that finding a fault or a breach takes longer and is more difficult to find. If a potential intruder continuously creates an alarm condition by shorting the fence out over a number of hours or days, the control room will think it is a fault and switch it off. If the distance between the points is less and set at regular intervals, a guard can be left to patrol a smaller distance, until such a time as a reason for the false alarms is found. Some manufacturers have their own software to monitor and manage the electric fence energiser. This is the best solution and achieves a higher level of security.

There are many things to consider when specifying an electric fence. The design of the wall (columns or architectural features) along with elevation of land can have an impact on the design and cost of the installation. Environmental conditions and distance between energisers will dictate the type of wiring that must be used.

Design considerations:

* Energiser type.

* Distance between energisers.

* Type of wire to use.

* Design of poles.

- Height of poles.

- Size of material.

- Coating.

- Angled or straight.

- Type of bobbin.

* The number of earthing rings.

* Spacing of poles.

* Certification.

* Multifence.

* The amount of heat that is generated by the energisers.

* The physical size of the enclosure.

* How much no man’s land is required?

Access and egress

Having an impenetrable perimeter is paramount but it comes down to the weakest link. The design of the complex entrance must be visually appealing and safe at the same time, with the least amount of inconvenience to the residents. There will be many types of visitors and vehicles coming and going through these points. It is technically easy to do but difficult and time consuming to implement. This entire infrastructure will use the IP network to function and log the data.

The size and the stage of development of the complex will determine the amount of personnel placed at the entrances and how many booms are required. A well-designed entrance will be placed back from the roadway to allow visitors to queue without preventing residents from coming and going. Having separate lanes for visitors and residents is always better. A pedestrian entrance and exit should be part of the design. A bail-out lane should also be included in the design, to allow the visitor to turn around and leave without causing other vehicles to reverse. The entrance should be fitted with gates or roller shutters and closed during the early hours of the morning. Designing the entrance to incorporate this is a must.

Selecting a security company with a good track record is paramount. They must have the necessary certification and credentials. This will form another layer of security. Some of these companies offer background checks for contractor and domestic workers. There are many types of access control devices on the market and using a brand name with an easy to use interface and a good track record in other complexes.

Using biometrics or fingerprints is becoming more popular, although the RFID cards still work. Cards may be given to non-residents or misplaced, while fingerprints cannot. A video facial record used in conjunction with a fingerprint is best. The technology is available to marry registration plate, fingerprint and photograph which may annoy some residents with several vehicles.

There are many types of visitors, i.e. domestic workers, meter readers, delivery vehicles and contractors etc. Each visitor needs to be treated differently. Using higher graded staff at the entrance will always be better. A covered area to allow the person entering the estate to be processed out of the elements is part of a good design. The height of the roof is also important to allow larger delivery trucks in. It is prudent to restrict loads to a maximum of 7 tons to preserve road infrastructure. The value of property relies on first impressions and the quality of security and facilities.

Having a pre-clearance system works well and reduces the work load at the gates. It is still important to keep a visual record of the person’s face, vehicle and registration plate. This pre-clearance should also include the scanning of the identity document. Most of these pre-clearance systems work with cellphone technology and is expensive and needs to be budgeted for.

Control room

The cabling and fibre optic should run in large conduits around the complex and into the control room. This will allow for future upgrades of technology that will change in the life span of an estate. When doing these upgrades, specify that the old systems and infrastructure be removed. This can become messy and unmanageable causing premature failure of other components. The design of the control room should be large enough to house the viewing screens and separate from the guard’s room. Have an air conditioner to keep the equipment cool and the personnel comfortable. This should not be overlooked.

A generator should be installed to keep the gate and infrastructure running during power outages. Generators come in many shapes and sizes. Use a quiet running unit and confirm that the specification will manage the power load. A maintenance schedule for the generator should be in place, the unit should be tested regularly and a logbook must be kept.

The estate will take ownership of the equipment and the longer it lasts with the least amount of failures the better. Select equipment with the longest warranty periods. Once the infrastructure is in place, upgrading the peripheral devices can be done over time.


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