University campuses have high levels of public access, from students and staff to visitors attending events. Making sure the public and buildings are safe and secure means that integrated surveillance technology has become an essential tool for universities. This blog looks at five ways Synergy can help.

1. Audit trails for transparent usage

A clear and transparent record of what operators see and their actions is vital. Not just for best-practice public space surveillance but also for training and process improvement.

With Synergy, every user action is authenticated and automatically and inalterably logged. What’s more, team supervisors can set user profiles that control access rights to individual system features and cameras and call up detailed reports to view operator activity at any point.

2. Reporting that demonstrates ‘reason’

University surveillance managers can use Synergy’s reporting functionality to demonstrate why, how, and when surveillance footage is used, thereby demonstrating compliance. Data ranging from key camera locations to the number, type and scope of incidents dealt with can be quickly collated and presented to key stakeholders.

The University of Sheffield does exactly this, using Synergy reports as part of its reporting process for inspection by the SSAIB (Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board) to assess Code of Practice compliance.

3. Secure data storage and evidence sharing

All video evidence relevant to an event is held in a secure incident locker where the data integrity can be verified using SHA-2 hashing. This incident data can then be uploaded to a secure Cloud Evidence Locker. Additional data and notes can be added to this incident file as the event and any investigation unfolds, but footage logged cannot be altered.

To guarantee secure evidence sharing, the locker can only be accessed by authenticated users (including external agencies such as the police) from approved devices.

4. Blackouts to protect privacy

Surveillance managers can apply blackouts to any area of footage based on authorisation levels. This means that while all surveillance team members can access and interrogate footage to investigate incidents, only users with the right clearance (permissions) can see ‘unmasked’ footage. For incidents involving groups of students or vulnerable individuals, this feature provides significant safeguarding benefits.

Blackouts applied can also be retained without affecting evidential quality, meaning redacted footage can be exported and shared with the police or other emergency responders without issue.

5. Workflows for compliant response

Public space surveillance compliance is often about making sure the right action is taken at the time. University surveillance teams know the importance of this more than most. They must be equipped to deal with a wide range of incident types – from helping vulnerable students in crisis and managing incidents of anti-social behaviour to investigating theft and unauthorised access to research facilities.

With Synergy's dynamic workflows, inputs from cameras and integrated system devices can be set up to trigger on-screen guidance based on the university’s incident response protocols for any given event. This avoids inconsistencies between operators and ensures that response times are as fast as possible. Guaranteeing speed and consistency in this way is also vital for dealing with potential terrorist activity – a growing concern for many universities.