Edesix is now taking its level of protection for the parking sector one step further, with the introduction of Vigilant Solution's Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology.
Edesix, market leading providers in the provision of Body Worn Cameras (BWC), has supplied UK parking agencies with BWC technology for a number of years now. Frontline parking staff are often subjected to verbal and even physical abuse, so ensuring these patrol officers remain safe has been a priority of councils and their contractors. The use of Body Worn Cameras is a proven way to deter aggression whilst capturing evidence which can be used in court. BWC’s can also be utilised to validate parking fines and quash complaints or false claims.
ANPR technology is used to help detect, deter and disrupt criminality. As a vehicle passes an ANPR camera, its registration number is read and instantly checked against database records of vehicles of interest. Police officers, and now Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs), can intercept and stop a vehicle, check it for evidence and then take the necessary action. A record for all vehicles passing by a camera is stored, including those for vehicles that are not known to be of interest at the time of the reading that may in appropriate circumstances be accessed for investigative purposes. The use of ANPR in this way has proved to be important in the detection of many offences, including locating stolen vehicles, tackling uninsured vehicle use and solving cases of terrorism, major and organised crime.
ANPR technology involves infrared cameras, which can be stationary, like CCTV, or mobile, like BWCs, that photograph number plates; timestamp the images with the date, time and location coordinates; and store the information in searchable databases for use by authorised agencies. This can create a bank of information regarding the locations and movements of vehicles of interest throughout a country. Most notably used by Police, it can also be used by Parking Enforcement Agencies for number plate enabled parking, to collect outstanding fines, and to monitor access to pre-booked parking, as well as for traffic management.
Using BWCs to protect users and capture footage whilst using ANPR for data-driven intelligence is a powerful combination. For example, ANPR could provide the whereabouts of a vehicle of interest for the Police. Police officers can then investigate the vehicle whilst wearing BWCs, their findings instantly shared with a HQ with a live view from the officer’s viewpoint to provide further information and evidence. Using ANPR to track vehicles of interest and having officers equipped with BWCs to follow up means there is a continuous intelligence stream created by these two forms of video technology. ANPR finds the target whilst BWCs record the interaction once it’s found. This interaction creates more incoming intelligence for authorities, protects officers on duty and provides an audit trail of information from the vehicle of interest to court-ready footage taken by BWCs.
Importance of Managing Data
Managing the data gathered through new technologies has proven a challenge in the past. However, today, the ability to integrate multiple streams of information into a single solution is becoming streamlined and simplified.
BWC footage is utilised across the world and various industries to help gather tamper-proof evidence, deter false claims against the wearer and identify best practice for training. The device itself acts as a deterrent against acts of abuse, as simply wearing the camera has been proven to change behaviour and de-escalate situations. The footage taken is encrypted and offers a unique and personal insight into the view of the wearer, especially given that BWCs record audio, which can give context to incidents that video-only CCTV installations would not be able to convey.
BWC footage is handled through VideoManager, a web-based back-end software, which can integrate with leading Video Management Systems to control multiple streams of footage simultaneously, most notably CCTV footage. CCTV, now normally handled by fixed IP cameras, can provide a constant viewpoint of the most at-risk areas whilst BWCs handle areas where fixed cameras would be ineffective, such as on large sites, where the entire premises cannot be covered by CCTV cameras alone, routes outside where there would be no place to set up CCTV or in the blind spots of sites where CCTV is already installed.
Viewing both CCTV footage and BWC live streams in tandem allows for a greater area of coverage, and provides more immediate information to the users, as well as multiple perspectives of any unfolding event.
BWCs are now a necessity for local authorities across the UK as transparency, safety of staff and greater accountability become more important for UK councils, as well as the communities they continue to serve.
According to a recent study, 54% of all local UK authorities now equip members of staff or contractors with BWCs. This a substantial increase and step forward since Renfrewshire Council became the first local authority in the UK to record publicly the adoption and use of BWCs back in 2009.
BWC systems have been used by the London Borough of Bromley local authority for a number of years to offer a range of benefits to parking enforcement operations including; an accurate record of conversations and events at the time of a PCN issue, protection for enforcement officers and as a training aide. Edesix’s solution was chosen as its cameras are secure and robust, and record high quality footage which can be used for evidence in response to an appeal. Edesix’s VideoBadge is also light-weight and easy to operate, a huge difference from the old cumbersome head-mounted cameras, external wires and battery packs.
Through the use of BWCs, and with the added ANPR protection, local authorities have been able to improve first response communications to appeals by providing a more transparent and comprehensive account of the events in question. The high quality of the video and audio evidence produced by the VideoBadge system acts as an independent witness, providing the context to events and conversations that a written statement cannot. This has meant that significant time and cost savings can be attributed to the reduced volume of second appeal letters received and subsequently requiring to be processed and responded to.