Edinburgh City Council

A Public Space & Safe Cities Case Study

Applications used

Edinburgh City Council’s expenditure was projected to fall by £100k after Veracity’s solution was installed.

210 properties are monitored from one control room.

Integrated technologies have markedly enhanced the Council’s security, surveillance and monitoring capacity.

Centralised logging of all incidents has aided other council departments.

Personnel working in potentially dangerous locations are now protected by multiple safeguards.

A number of Veracity applications were installed into the Council’s control room to enable it to provide a broad range of surveillance and monitoring services.


What was the brief for Edinburgh City Council?

Edinburgh City Council manages over two hundred properties. Some are vacant, others are occupied. To prevent criminal damage to its physical assets, the Council outsourced property security services to a number of third-party security providers. However the disparate, sporadic arrangement created difficulties for the Council. A lack of integration and cooperation between property managers encouraged the Council to shake up their property management arrangements.

“To turnaround this problematic situation”, said Frank MacFadden, then General Manager of Security at Edinburgh City Council. “We looked at a total shift of ethos, towards a program of employing integrated technology to maximise the resources we already had at our disposal”

In 2011, the practice of outsourcing property security services to sporadic providers was discontinued. To modernise the Council’s property security arrangement, Veracity Systems Ltd  to provide a bespoke solution which has enabled the management of 210 properties from one integrated control room.

How was the solution reached?

Saved expenditure.
Edinburgh Council derived economic advantages from this decision. Third-party service charge fees have been abolished. Automated technologies, such as Alarm Receiving, have eliminated the need for personnel to carry out time and labour intensive tasks, such as manually logging incidents and monitoring the safety of personnel. And long-term savings have been made due to the Council’s investment in an economy-of-scale surveillance solution.

Operational advantages.
Veracity’s solution produced a number of operational benefits. All recorded information is now presented on a video wall, and specific display configurations can be triggered by certain alarms to best prepare control rooms to respond to incidents, made possible by Command and Control. If an alarm is triggered, any CCTV cameras close to it will turn to face the incident and be displayed in the control room.
And control room operators do not have to rely upon disparate third-parties for information on the safety of the Council’s properties, as real-time information is continually presented in the control room.
“Veracity has proved invaluable, providing the control room with only the visual and operational information that is needed at any particular moment, streamlining our operators’ workloads”, Frank said.
When the Council’s control room is made aware of a potential incident, operators are able to see which personnel are closest to it, using Dispatch. Not only has this helped to reduce transport costs, as only suitably located personnel are asked to respond to an incident, but the scope for offenders to evade capture has been reduced.

Informed practices.
Incident Managment has automated the reportage of incidents and events, whilst Management Reporting has automated the production of graphically rich analytic reports substantiated by recorded data. The benefits of this specific application should not be underestimated.
“We can provide other departments with a full and auditable service, for a set fee – all within the council structure. This has streamlined the accounting process in council departments, and saved a quantifiable amount of the council’s budget – around £100k/year at a current estimate. Also, we can produce ‘customer’ reports that show a detailed story of the level of service they receive for their money, and allows us to calculate exactly how the changes we have introduced have benefited the performance of the service”

Monitoring personnel.
Guard Tour has increased the protection of personnel working in dangerous areas. By placing RFID technology along a patrol route frequented by personnel on-foot, control rooms are made aware of any unexpected deviations to a routine patrol schedule if a check point is missed.
In addition, the Council’s patrol staff and control rooms communicate on a systematic basis, as Lone Worker automates check-up calls to ensure both parties are as informed as possible.

A positive step forward.
On the solution, Frank concludes: “Thanks to an innovative way of working combined with the mix of advanced technology from Veracity, we now enjoy an economical security network that delivers auditable results, alongside significant cost savings.”