Since upgrading its campus surveillance system to enable a more proactive approach to security, the University of Leeds has reduced crime on campus and improved incident response times.

Every day, the security team at the University of Leeds is tasked with keeping over 30,000 students and 7,000 staff safe, on a campus spanning almost 100 acres. There are multiple site entrances and an open policy for students, meaning no form of perimeter access control is feasible.

The campus is also famed for high-profile visitors, with guests including Olympic athletes, musicians, sports teams, political speakers, and international ambassadors.

“There are 180 cameras on site. Finding a way to monitor, control, and intelligently use this resource to proactively prevent crime, as well as investigate incidents, was a priority and a challenge. CCTV needed to become our virtual perimeter fence,” said Alan Cain, Head of Security Services at the University of Leeds.

Streamlined monitoring and control

Previously, only post-event review of separate CCTV and third-party security systems was possible.

Enabling the integration of legacy analog and newer, digital, high-definition cameras, images are now encoded using Synectics technology and transmitted securely via the university data network to the purpose-built control room. Here, footage can be monitored, controlled, and reviewed in real time on Synectics Synergy command and control positions linked to a large display wall.

Streamlining monitoring and control in this way with an IP-based solution, together with enhanced third-party integration capabilities, means that the university is able to make its proactive security aspirations a reality.

Proactive surveillance in practice

Police, camera, action
West Yorkshire police share incident reports, trends, and suspect data with the university's security team, and provide access to specialist crime prediction software that pinpoints high-risk areas. Armed with this information, the team know where to look and who to look for on campus and can use Synergy command and control to proactively monitor hot spots identified. This is one of the main reasons why the University of Leeds has moved up 15 places in national university safety rankings in just two years.

High security, low visibility
The security team has been able to create virtual high-security corridors where footage from high-risk, high-footfall areas between accommodation blocks and key facilities can be closely monitored from the control room. The system has also proved useful for safeguarding high-profile VIP visitors, without disrupting campus life.

Mobile surveillance
A tablet device is carried by the on-duty security manager when away from the control room, or on call while off site. The University of Leeds’ state-of-the-art IP-based surveillance solution means that live footage from any of the cameras on site can be streamed to the device when needed. This enables 24-hour consultation on situation analysis for incident prevention or emergency response.

Better integration means better information

The University of Leeds’ surveillance monitoring and control platform also enables significant integrations that save the security team time, effort, and resource, while also improving data management.

With the Synergy surveillance command and control solution, CCTV footage of incidents can be logged alongside incident report data for immediate reference.

The enhanced integration capabilities of the University of Leeds’ surveillance system have also opened up new student support options.

Plans are currently under review for the introduction of ground-breaking technology to make every student’s mobile phone a help point. Integration with the campus surveillance system offers the potential for audio feed to be paired with visual footage from the nearest campus camera.

“Implementing our networked surveillance solution has had an incredible impact on campus security. Our incident rates are down significantly thanks to being able to proactively monitor the site in such an efficient way, and our average response time for any incident on site is now just four minutes. To see such a difference in such a short space of time is fantastic.

“As Head of Security Services, it’s my job to keep abreast of the latest solutions and know what other universities are doing. In my view, I’ve not seen any system to rival what we have here at the University of Leeds,” said Alan.