iLegal 2011

February 2012 News, Retail (Industry)

On 25 October, Hi-Tech Security Solutions in association with Dr Craig Donald hosted the fourth annual iLegal conference, focusing on CCTV legal issues.

iLegal once again brought together top local and international experts dealing with the legal operation of CCTV and this year the emphasis was on extracting intelligence from CCTV footage.

Dr Craig Donald, a human factors specialist in security and CCTV, and a regular contributor to Hi-Tech Security Solutions, welcomed the delegates and introduced the speakers, the first of whom was Jeff Corkill.

Prevention is better than conviction

Corkill served in the Australian Army for 20 years. A graduate of the Royal Military College, he served as an officer in the Australian Intelligence Corps and his post military career has included appointments in security management and security and intelligence consulting both in Australia and overseas. He is currently an intelligence and security lecturer at Edith Cowan University and a director of S2i, a security company based in Perth.

Corkill started off explaining that his military intelligence background gave him a different approach to CCTV and that intelligence was the missing issue.

He then pointed out and explained the ‘contexts of CCTV’, those being technology, evidence, situational awareness, deterrence and surveillance.

Technology – which includes solutions, cost, hardware, bit rates and pixels – gets the most attention, Corkill said, adding that technology reduces the human elements of CCTV surveillance, thus reducing the margin for human error.

Conviction, storage, retrieval, image quality and admissibility contribute to the evidence provided by CCTV. Corkill noted that people tend to think the system is good if a perpetrator is convicted, but a good system could often have prevented the crime being committed in the first place. Which led him to the third CCTV context, deterrence, the contributing factors to which include behaviour, conviction, safety, statistics, visibility and privacy? He explained that the presence of a CCTV system has been proven to change people’s behaviour, which can be picked up by the CCTV monitors and more criminal acts can then be prevented.

The situational awareness domain includes control, management, safety, visibility and response – it is all about managing processes and response to incidents; while the surveillance angle is made up of operators, observation, activity, targets and privacy.

All these elements combined would make for a decent CCTV system but, as Corkill pointed out initially, CCTV without intelligence serves no purpose. He said the most effective intelligence collection capabilities available results in true, functional CCTV by integrating all the information captured to assist in much more informed decision-making.

Corkill concluded by saying that CCTV will continue to play a significant role in the wider security domain but it does remain very much an under-exploited capability.

Betting on surveillance

Clinton Vigne is a specialist investigator at Tsogo Sun Gaming. He presented on Meeting the Challenges of Syndicates in the Casino Industry and described the five main criminal activities facing casinos as: ATM card skimming, credit and debit card fraud syndicates, handbag theft, armed robbery and casino cheats.

The casino industry uses various methods to monitor visitors with the aim of noticing any suspicious activity before a crime is committed. These methods include the use of top quality CCTV with highly experienced operators, under cover informants on the casino floors and tip-offs from the SAPS and banks’ forensic investigators.

Vigne said that there is a good working relationship amongst casinos and the one common goal is crime prevention. All information gained on syndicates is shared throughout the casino industry via the CASA (Casino Association of South Africa) database.

Syndicates impact negatively on casinos’ revenue as well as their publicity, Vigne said. He explained that intelligence significantly increase the chances of preventing crime in casinos by: enabling security staff to determine crime patterns and thus predict the next ‘hit’; helping to build a stronger relationship with SABRIC (South African Banking Risk Information Centre) regarding armed robberies at banks and casinos; creating a closer working relationship with banks’ forensic investigators; helping share vital information with the SAPS, specifically the organised and commercial crimes units and the Hawks; and assisting in strengthening the Casino Robberies database.

When it comes to securing a conviction with the use of CCTV footage, Vigne said that courts want positive identification and not just recognition of the suspects. Factors that play an important role in achieving this (or not) include the quality of the recordings and the time period of the recording. He recommended real-time recording with audio and advised companies to do research before installing a system to ensure that what they buy meets their (and legal) requirements. He also stressed the importance of regular maintenance of the CCTV equipment to ensure that all components are always in working order.

In the hot spot

Brendon Cowley from C3 Shared Services, addressed the role of thermal cameras in a crime fighting strategy.

Thermal energy is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is undetectable to the human eye because it is emitted from objects as heat, not reflected as light. All objects emit some form of thermal energy and infrared thermal imaging cameras capture this thermal energy and transform it into an image that can be viewed.

Thermal imaging cameras were first designed for use by the military. As the technology improved, these cameras became more practical for security applications such as perimeter surveillance. Cowley said the latest technology combines thermal imaging with video analytics, which allows for detection and tracking of intruders even in total darkness.

He advised potential users to opt for the best quality thermal imaging cameras based on resolution, the sensitivity of the sensor and the NUC (non-uniformity correction) capabilities of the device. Another tip he gave was to use Google Earth’s elevation tool to get a true profile of the terrain before placing cameras.

Disabled operators

Leo Nardi works for Toyota South Africa and he shared with the conference delegates what he has learnt about managing the surveillance control room with physically challenged operators integrated into the operation.

Nardi said issues to bear in mind when designing the control room include: location of the room, the physical structure and layout, the physical space considerations required for people using wheelchairs, for example, autonomy and ablution facilities.

From an operational perspective, companies need to take into account the nature of the disability of the person employed; their ability to work a full day and/or shifts; general work attendance of the employee, considering he or she may have regular treatment or visits to a health practitioner; transport to and from the place of work; and evacuation processes and procedures in the event of an emergency.

Nardi had this advice for companies looking to employ physically challenged: plan, address the quota, get the balance right and treat the operators no differently from any other employee.

Live at the crime

Attorney Juan Kotze spoke about experiences and approaches in pursuing and convicting criminals involved in retail robberies, with an emphasis on using CCTV footage as evidence or to identify perpetrators.

Kotze said that in South Africa in 2009 and 2010 there were 14 000 armed robberies in the retail industry, which resulted in 69 deaths and 239 people being seriously wounded. Like Clinton Vigne, he also stressed the importance of being able to positively identify perpetrators, adding that all too often the value of quality cameras is only realised too late.

Kotze backed up his presentation with astounding footage of robberies as recorded on surveillance cameras.

Prevention strategies

Group protection services manager at Impala Platinum, Johan Olivier presented on ‘A systematic approach to dealing with syndicate infiltration and theft in a high-value industry’.

He noted that precious group metals (PGMs) are in demand by illegal syndicates and said that between June 2010 and July 2011, 910 cases were investigated, resulting in the arrest of 154 Impala employees and 338 non-employees.

Impala’s security strategy to prevent crime at its mines includes such measures as pre-employment vetting to reduce fraud, proactive investigations to combat fraud and theft of cables, PGMs and other company assets, X-ray screening, including the use of full-body X-ray machines, CCTV and thermal camera technology.

External threats are posed by sophisticated professional syndicates with access to illegal - and sometimes even legal – international operations. Olivier said that these syndicates are highly organised with contacts in the high-ranking structures of the SAPS Organised Crime Unit and even in parliament. Such activities often work hand-in-hand with money laundering, drug smuggling and other commercial crimes.

Syndicates are continually changing their modus operandi and using various avenues to remove PGMS, including placing parcels in scrap waste bins, breaking windows and throwing parcels over the fence, and stealing ‘low grade’ product from sample points in refineries.

CCTV operations on the mines cover two angles – ongoing operational surveillance and specialist 24-hour investigator-led surveillance teams. This proactive focus ensures that security staff are constantly alert to new methods being used to remove product from high-security areas.

Impala uses thermal cameras for this purpose because thermal cameras are not affected by any amount of light, thermal contrast is practically impossible to mask, the cameras need no light to produce images, they provide excellent long-range viewing and are effective in any weather conditions and even daylight when individuals may hide in bushes or dark shadows.

A legal perspective

Helaine Leggat, a lawyer and founder and owner of Legate ICT Consulting, is an expert on records and information management (RIM) and in achieving compliance with the changing legislative landscape. She finished off the speakers’ session with her presentation on ‘The impact of recent legislation on CCTV – how it affects you and what you should be doing to safeguard yourselves, your information, your companies and your prosecutions’.

She informed delegates that locally, the value of cybercrime is larger than the drug trade and went on to discuss the legalities of interception and monitoring.

The current laws applicable to any form of cybercrime are: the constitution of South Africa, 1976; the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA); the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (RICA); the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (ECT); the Companies Act; and the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Then there are also the proposed Protection of Personal Information Bill (or POPI Act) and the Protection of Information Act (PIA).

Leggat advised companies to safeguard themselves, assess their risks – both internal and external – and comply with the mandatory laws as well as the discretionary codes, best practices and frameworks.

Rounding off the day, British American Tobacco and Gold Fields SA presented case studies demonstrating how the companies dealt with specific crime issues, resulting in convictions. The case studies were followed by a panel discussion answering questions from attendees.

Judging from the feedback, iLegal 2011 was once again a hit, touching on areas of importance to the industry with practical advice and market-leading information.

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