The role of CCTV in farm protection

CCTV Handbook 2021 Agriculture (Industry)

The basic design principles for any CCTV system installation remain the same, whether installed at an office park, a warehouse, a factory, a suburban home, a farmstead or anywhere else.

The basic 5 Ds of security

A properly planned and installed CCTV system in conjunction with other elements of security will facilitate the 5 Ds of security (and if necessary an additional D), plus one more important element, that of evidence.

Deter: Observation of your security footprint should deter a would-be criminal or attacker and convince them to move on.

Detect: If they persist and breach your perimeter, you need to have systems in place that will indicate this and give you the early warning in time to react.

Delay: The physical security elements, including fencing, walls, gates, burglar bars etc., should be strong and secure enough to delay the intruder’s access to your property. These elements should also be clear of shrubs and tall grass, which create hiding places. Again, giving you enough warning and time to react.

Deny: Again, we need a strong and secure physical security system that will deny the intruder access to the protected property.

Defend: The safest method of defending yourself and your property is to firstly have a safe place that you and your staff or family can retreat to and once safe, have the communications ability to call for backup.

Detain: This is the extra or 6th D. If the intruder persists further on to the property with a particular objective in mind, you need to have a plan in place to detain the intruder. The safest being to call for backup or a response team while you and your staff or family remain in a safe place.

Deter the intruder

You have seen the CCTV warning signs displayed at business premises all over cities and shopping centres. They display their message as a deterrent to would-be criminals to be aware that they and their actions will be ‘caught on camera’ and if they have broken the law, they will be prosecuted as a result.

The business owner is satisfied that he is doing the best that he can to protect his premises and staff from criminal elements that may wish to harm them or illegally take possession of his merchandise.

Detect the intruder

The question raised is, is the CCTV installation adequate and effective and does it live up to the expectations of the owner/manager, or has he just ticked the CCTV box on the monthly head office return?

Will the images be of sufficient quality and clarity to be presented as evidence in a court of law? Will the images stand up to intense scrutiny by the defence team? Are the cameras in the correct position to capture images of the illegal/unauthorised individual when he/she commits a crime, or are they able to avoid being recorded by slipping under the camera view, spraying paint over the lens, knocking the camera out of position, or wearing a cap or hoodie.

Evidence potential and retention

CCTV is not a silver bullet against crime. It is, however, a very valuable and effective tool in the security practitioner’s tool box as long as some basic standards are set.

• Use the correct cameras, with the correct lenses and technical specifications.

• The cameras are mounted in the correct location and position.

• The cameras have a reliable power supply.

• The recording and evidence retention equipment is good quality.

• The recording retention period is adequate for the situation.

• You provide a secure lock-up for the recording equipment and an off-site backup of data.

• Ensure a secure and reliable communication system, both on- and off-site.

• There is a reliable and effective inspection and maintenance procedure in place.

• There is a reliable local source of spare parts and service backup.

• The cameras and supporting equipment have been designed and developed by a reliable manufacturer, who has research and development capacity to support the equipment into a future period beyond the initial guarantee of the equipment.

• Does the manufacturer provide a redundancy plan to keep the system and equipment up to date with the rapid rate of technical development taking place?

• Is the system cost-effective and good value for money?

• Do you buy or lease? Leasing will often include a redundancy provision.

• Obtain client referrals in respect of the company that you are dealing with.

• Evaluate the way the company management and staff respond to your enquiry. The way they work now can be an indicator of the work ethic that you can expect from them in the future.

• Is the management involved and interested in helping you find the best solution to your problem, or do you only see sales personnel interacting with you?

You cannot expect to have an effective CCTV system and with it the expected crime solution, by calling in the nearest salesperson and buying a CCTV camera or set of cameras. It will cost you a lot of money and it will not work.

So, what is the solution?

Let’s go back to basics:

• You have to plan and Plan and PLAN.

• Conduct an independent risk assessment of your premises.

• Identify the risks and threats that your company is exposed to.

• Develop a multi-faceted, multi-pronged solution.

• Determine how the CCTV camera system will slot into the other security elements that are in place and how it will support them and contribute to the overall result.

• The speed with which technology is progressing in today’s world is mind blowing and downright scary.

• The top of the range camera today is redundant tomorrow.

• To be economically acceptable to the company, bottom line, a CCTV camera system should be designed to work effectively and productively for at least five years and with a redundancy plan built-in for at least 10 years.

• Out-of-warranty maintenance is a problem and needs to be planned for.

• Your assessor will tell you that the CCTV camera is a ‘force multiplier’ and so it is, but if it saves you a security guard at a critical position, then it must work 100% of the time.

• Include a priority call out and time linked response procedure for the CCTV system in your company procurement policy and enforce it at all times.

• The CCTV camera and supporting lighting must be located and secured as effectively as possible to prevent tampering and vandalism.

Equipment and management

The variety of and technical options available in the market place, are so diverse that only an expert can decide on the best camera and system for your particular application. The farm owner has additional challenges that the mall owner does not have. The location of the farm in a rural area is a challenge in itself, but there are solutions:

• The problem of a reliable power source can be solved with solar panels or a wind-driven solution.

• The problem of distance and cabling can be solved with radio communications.

• The movement of an unauthorised intruder can be detected by invisible, intelligent beams.

• The latest generation of thermal cameras can detect and record evidence with minimum or no lighting.

• Intelligent beams are independent and can be located a distance from the farmstead perimeter for effective early warning.

• Alarms can be received off-site and response organised.

Like everything else that we as humans utilise to manage our lives, the CCTV system must be managed in order to obtain the benefits thereof. There is no sense in having a top-class CCTV system and nobody there to react to the signals or images produced.

The correct type of camera, installed in the right place, with adequate lighting, with a secure power source, with secure communications, with quality recording and pro-active alarm indication, is a successful CCTV installation.

This article is the opinion of the author and is based on the latest information available and his previous and current work in the security industry. For more information, contact Laurence Palmer, +27 73 954 4450,


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