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Schools are an integral part of society where every child can feel safe and nurtured. They are a place where children not just gain knowledge but also make connections, socialise with their peers, and prepare for the future.
Sadly, increasing crime and violence are jeopardising this right to safety and security and putting not just students, but teachers at risk as well.
Some of the most common security threats in schools include bullying, anti-social behaviour, drug dealing, trespassing, intrusions, vandalism, theft, and vehicle crime.
As reported by the West Yorkshire police, two suspects recently forced entry into a school in Calderdale followed by the theft of a minibus.
Assault on teachers is also now becoming extremely commonplace with teaching considered one of the riskiest professions when it comes to workplace violence.
All this leaves a huge impact on the quality of education where both students and teachers suffer at the hands of mischief mongers and criminals.
Due to increased awareness of the potential dangers of these threats, more attention is now being paid to school security with the school management working harder towards providing a safer environment for students and teachers.
CCTV cameras are becoming more prevalent in schools to maintain safety and security and allow school staff and students to focus on their responsibilities rather than worry about undesirable events such as the ones stated above.
Read on to find out the benefits of installing CCTV cameras in schools, their drawbacks, where to install them, and much more:
ADVANTAGES OF USING CCTV SYSTEMS IN SCHOOLS
CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) cameras are one of the most commonly used security systems around the world with an estimated one billion surveillance cameras in the world by the end of 2021.
Their widespread use in a variety of applications, including schools and educational institutions, must be taken as proof of their efficiency as a security tool.
There are many benefits of using CCTV cameras in schools that include:
Reducing bullying and anti-social behaviour
According to a global survey of teachers, England is reported as one of the worst countries for bullying among secondary school pupils.
The frequency of bullying has decreased in several countries around the world, however, in England, it has almost doubled in the last five years – which is something of serious concern.
Bullying and anti-social behaviour may include violence or assault, theft, repeated harassment, and hate crimes.
Installing CCTV cameras around the premises, including cornered off areas, will not only deter bullies from targeting others but also help management identify them and take action, which can be especially useful if the victims are apprehensive about calling out their bullies.
Schools are often targeted for vandalism by students on campus as well as individuals or group of individuals from outside.
Common acts of vandalism include breaking windows and furniture, graffiti, and stealing school supplies, all of which lead to huge unnecessary overheads.
In recent news, a primary school in Bilton was broken into and damage caused to the school pavilion and a classroom window. According to the North Yorkshire police, the school also recently suffered several incidents of anti-social behaviour causing alarm among the school teachers, students, and parents.
Installing CCTV cameras can reduce cases of vandalism from both internal and external threats for the fear of getting caught on camera, identified, and reprimanded.
Reducing crime during school closures
In addition to being targeted during school hours, schools are also often targeted by intruders during the night, the weekend, term holiday periods, and other similar events that result in closures.
The reason is that schools are often equipped with high-tech and expensive equipment such as computers, laptops, tools, and furniture, all of which are extremely lucrative for criminals looking for items of value to sell for money.
A closed, empty property is much easier to break into than one filled with people, where the chances of getting caught increase exponentially.
You can beat such criminals at their own game by installing CCTV cameras that monitor the area 24/7, regardless of the day or night, and whether the school is open or closed.
Controlling unauthorised access
Controlling unauthorised access into a property is one of the pillars of security and the solution to a number of security issues in schools.
The thought of an unauthorised individual entering the school premises is an unnerving one for both the school management and parents since it puts the safety of everyone inside at risk.
Installing CCTV cameras at all the entrances will help monitor who is entering and leaving the school and when, and in case it is someone who shouldn’t be there, real-time monitoring will help identify and escort them off the property and carry out the necessary action such as calling the police or relevant authorities.
Monitoring teachers’ behaviour
People under surveillance are less likely to be disruptive or inappropriate for the fear of getting caught, and that goes for teachers as well.
It is extremely important for school management to know how a teacher is performing in class and behaving with their pupils.
In recent times, there have been reports of teachers resorting to violence with their students, as is apparent in this news article about a teacher brutally beating a special needs 15-years old child.
CCTV surveillance on campus will help school management monitor their staff at all times and call them out for any inappropriate behaviour.
As mentioned above, schools are supposed to be safe and secure for all, where the main focus should be on the students’ personal growth instead of worrying about safety and security threats.
A school with a CCTV system and constant surveillance will give students, teachers, and parents peace of mind, reducing the stress and worry of anti-social behaviour, intrusions, theft, and acts of abuse and violence.
CCTV systems can also help highlight areas of improvement in the way that the school operates, particularly with respect to safety, such as busy corridors, bottlenecks, and unsafe infrastructure.
DRAWBACKS OF USING CCTV SYSTEMS IN SCHOOLS
CCTV cameras have always been met with uncertainty despite the great benefits that they offer, with the biggest issue being that of privacy.
Following are the few drawbacks associated with using CCTV cameras in schools:
Some people might not be comfortable with the idea of being watched by someone, and that raises huge privacy issues.
However, to prevent anyone from feeling uncomfortable, it is important to keep the use of CCTV cameras as transparent as possible and to inform everyone in the school, including the parents, about why the systems have been put in place and what the footage will be used for.
There are surveillance laws for schools that ensure CCTV cameras are used lawfully without infringing on anyone’s right to privacy.
Schools are often sprawled across a large area and may require multiple cameras to cover the entirety of the property and set up an effective surveillance system.
The more the number of cameras, the more complex the system and the higher the total cost will be. However, when you think of it, you can’t put a price tag on safety and security, can you? The several advantages of CCTV cameras in schools greatly outweigh their costs.
Also, since the demand for CCTV cameras has increased over the years, the prices have really come down. What was affordable only for a selected few a couple of years back is now easily and commonly used in various applications across the community.
Can’t stop crime
While CCTV cameras are powerful tools used for deterring crime and catching the criminals on camera, they cannot stop it from taking place.
However, advanced features such as one-way or two-way communication will enable you to threaten the perpetrators by letting them know that they are being watched and recorded, hopefully stopping them in their tracks right and there.
Professional CCTV monitoring is another great feature where the CCTV footage is monitored by trained professionals in real-time, leaving no room for oversight, and in case of a crime being committed, the authorities can be contacted right away.
Additionally, you can also combine an alarm security system with the CCTV cameras on campus to not only deter and record the criminals but also scare them away using loud sirens and flashing lights.
WHERE TO INSTALL CCTV CAMERAS IN SCHOOLS?
Strategically installing CCTV cameras in the right locations is just as important as installing them in the first place.
You must install them in a way that allows you to monitor all the important areas of the school while also respecting the privacy of students, teachers, and other staff members.
To get a better idea of where to install and position the cameras, you need to carefully assess your safety and security requirements and plan accordingly.
If you wish to monitor students inside the classroom, you need to position the camera in a way that allows you to view them. If it is just facing the door or window, it would simply defeat its purpose of being there.
CCTV cameras also need to be positioned at the optimal height to allow for a broader scope of view and keep them safe from tampering and vandalism. The ideal heights are 2.5 and 5 inches, although it all depends on the type of cameras being installed and the height and size of the area being monitored.
Some of the most common places to install CCTV cameras inside a school include:
- Entrance doors
- Car parks
- Main offices
- Sports grounds and fields
- School buses
- Toilet entrances
You must make sure to not use CCTV cameras in the following places inside a school:
- Changing rooms
- Any other private area
BEST TYPES OF CCTV CAMERAS FOR SCHOOLS
There are many types of CCTV cameras available in the market and choosing the best one for your school is indeed an important decision.
For a school environment, you need to choose cameras that are efficient and record as much activity as possible while also being unobtrusive so that they do not interfere with regular school activities.
Some of the most common types of CCTV cameras used in schools include:
Bullet CCTV cameras
Bullet CCTV cameras are shaped like a rifle bullet shell or lipstick case and are one of the most commonly installed CCTV cameras in schools.
They can be installed on both walls and ceilings, and are capable of producing high-definition, clear images, even in poorly-lit areas making them ideal to be used outdoors, such as in car parks.
However, they are limited in the direction that they can record and monitor, which is why if the area to be monitored is a big one, a single bullet CCTV camera may not suffice.
Dome CCTV cameras
Dome CCTV cameras are another popular type commonly found in schools that get their name from the dome-shaped covering that the cameras sit in.
They are more discreet than bullet cameras and can easily blend into their surroundings, making them a great choice to avoid feelings of intrusion.
Also, dome cameras can rotate at certain angles allowing you to monitor a wider field of view using a single camera.
PTZ CCTV cameras
PTZ CCTV cameras, also called pan-tilt-zoom cameras are more versatile and flexible than their counterparts in providing maximum security footage.
Appearance-wise, they are similar to dome CCTV cameras with the addition to film at a wide-angle and the ability to manually or automatically adjust the angle and zoom into certain areas of interest.
Due to the high level of control and flexibility that they offer, a single PTZ camera can be used to monitor a relatively large area and can also be programmed to follow movement which can be extremely beneficial in the case of a crime being committed.
CCTV LAWS FOR SCHOOLS
All schools are allowed to set up CCTV cameras to ensure the safety and security of their students and teachers. However, there are certain laws and guidelines surrounding privacy and data protection that need to be followed.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued a code of practice for data controllers, including schools, to follow which ensures that the rights of the data subjects are not being violated.
It is extremely important that the individuals being monitored are made aware of it, which can best be achieved by putting up clear signs that state that the school is under CCTV surveillance.
CCTV footage is subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) under which you must ensure that the data is kept secure and only authorised individuals are allowed to access it.
There are very strict laws related to the retention of CCTV footage where schools are required to delete it when it is no longer necessary, which is preferably within 31 days unless the footage is required for an ongoing investigation.
CCTV systems must be installed by professionals who are experienced in the field and will not use substandard equipment prone to defects, damages, and vulnerabilities.
The systems must also be regularly maintained to check for faults and security breaches, both of which call for an immediate response and rectification.
CONTACT CALDER SECURITY
Calder Security offers a comprehensive solution for CCTV cameras that are state-of-the-art and comply with CCTV laws and regulations.
We understand the special security and safety needs of various properties and offer professional installation and design for CCTV systems bespoke to each school.
We conduct every aspect from surveys, design, specification and installation ourselves, and our professional maintenance services ensure that your CCTV systems work in the optimal condition all year round, guaranteeing effectiveness and compliance with the law.
We also offer professional CCTV monitoring services that help detect criminal activity and security breaches as they are in progress for the appropriate action to be taken, even when the school is empty.
We understand that CCTV systems can malfunction for several reasons and that the issues must be resolved instantly to not put the school’s security in a vulnerable state. Our expert repair services carry a comprehensive range of parts, equipment, and service kits on their vans to ensure that fixes are dealt with quickly and efficiently.
Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799 to talk to our security experts right away!