Keeping the records straight

October 2004 Access Control & Identity Management

Project scope

Number of users: Staff 900, visitors 3000.

Number of buildings: One.

Number of enrolment stations: Three Sagem MEMS.

Number of biometric readers: 21 Sagem MorphoAccess.

Mode of biometric operation: Identification (1:many) - fingerprint only.

Number of turnstiles: Four waist-height.

Number of doors secured: Six.

SA Police Service Criminal Record Centre head office

Keep it simple, keep it modern, do not go cheap, look at after-sales service, investigate previous work done by the company, system must be upgradable.

The history

SAPS Criminal Record Centre serves as the head office of 91 offices nationally. It is also the central hub for the Police AFIS (automated fingerprint identification system), responsible for processing and management of criminal records.

"There were two main reasons for us considering an access control solution," says Inspector J.M. Barnard. "Firstly, there was no effective access control system in place other than security guards, resulting in problems of fraudulent entry and theft. Secondly, there was no way to monitor employees' attendance and productivity in the workplace."

In light of the terrorism events in America, and the local political state, a strategic decision was taken to implement stringent measures to record and utilise biometric data of all staff and visitors for access control.

The SAPS has been using Sagem Biometric Systems for its AFIS system for some time, and a solution was sought which could provide the same levels of quality reliability and performance in an access control environment. Eventually a Sagem fingerprint biometric access control system was chosen.

Specifically, the centre required a system that would work effectively based on fingerprint only (not requiring the use of cards or PIN numbers) for large numbers of people - approximately 900 staff and contractors members and several thousand visitors on a monthly basis.

The goal

The purpose of a new access control system was twofold: to provide strict access control for staff and visitors, due to the importance of the site within the SA criminal justice system. And secondly, to monitor the movement of staff and improve on productivity.

The benefits

The expected benefits of the new system were better service delivery, higher productivity, less corruption; and fast and effective access control using fingerprints only, thus no excuses for leaving cards at home, losing cards etc.

Obstacles en route to a final solution

"We had very limited physical space to implement the turnstiles and barriers, as well as limited funds," says Barnard, "and an unexpected challenge was getting people who never used an access control system before, to accept the system and comply with the associated rules."

Tenders, specs and implementation

"We knew what we wanted, got several quotations and sought out a company that could provide the correct products, with good after-sales service and support," Barnard explains. "As far as design, specification and implementation went, the centre merged events and kept everybody involved with the overall look and design of the system."

What role did professional specifiers, consultants and/or systems integrators play in assisting you in designing, specifying and implementing your solution?

Biometric experts within the organisation were consulted along with experts in the marketplace. Security experts were also consulted. All relevant stakeholders were included in the process, and this kept everyone interested to see the end result.

The result

Everything the centre hoped for was achieved as planned. "The only thing I would have done differently would have been to opt for more modern physical components such as aluminium turnstiles and barriers, but funds were insufficient," says Barnard.

In summary

Barnard's advice to anyone looking at installing an access control system is: "Make sure that there are performance-based penalty clauses in the contract in order to maintain control of delivery schedules. Identify your need and plan accordingly. Search for the right supplier and work together. Close co-operation, support and service are important."

Fact file

System integrator and installer: Exys Security Solutions, Billy Gilbert, 012 665 5470.

Biometrics: Sagem Morpho range, distributed by Ideco Technologies, Gary Jones, 011 442 0064, info@ideco.co.za

Access control system: Impro IXP400.

SAPS Criminal Record Centre, Inspector J.M. Barnard, 012 393 3885.




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