Nutgrove Shopping Centre in Dublin relies on video security technology from Dallmeier
Shopping to one’s heart content: the variety of shops, cafés and restaurants at the Nutgrove Shopping Centre in Dublin leaves nothing to be desired. The video surveillance solution from Dallmeier plays a key role in managing the complex of buildings.
Nutgrove Shopping Centre has served the shoppers of South County Dublin and further afield for almost 25 years. The centre contains some 70 shops and includes the Motor Taxation Office, a post office and the Department of Social & Family Affairs. A filling station and free parking for 1,000 cars complete the facilities.
Crime isn’t a major problem at Dublin’s Nutgrove Shopping Centre. The video surveillance system is nevertheless of great use, for instance in preventing crimes and dangerous situations or investigating accidents in the car park. It also gives the security personnel and shop owners as well as the customers the feeling of being in a secure place.
CCTV based on the latest Dallmeier recorders covers the car parking and common areas. Previously a video-based system had been in place when DNA Security Limited was engaged to install the replacement. “We initially upgraded the shopping centre from video tape to two Dallmeier DLS 18 in 2002,” recalls DNA Security Limited managing director Declan Nolan. These were used successfully and so Nutgrove Shopping Centre facilities manager Robbie Hesse decided to retain the Dallmeier brand when the time came to upgrade again to the latest technology. The centre is now fitted with the recorders DMS 240 “In Memory of Leonardo” with 24 channels and 2TB internal storage.
The key camera location is the centre’s entrance door, where image quality is of paramount importance. “We have installed one of the new Dallmeier indoor dome cameras featuring Cam_inPIX® technology,” explains Mr Nolan. The camera was chosen following rigorous testing. “We took a top of the range full-function dome camera from another leading brand and zoomed it in to look at the same door as the Dallmeier Cam_inPIX® camera.” The images were displayed on adjacent screens. “The Dallmeier Cam_inPIX® camera captured far superior images,” he says. “The clarity is fantastic. You can see everybody’s faces perfectly as they come through the door from the bright outside into the darker shopping centre.” Its zoom capability is very good for a static camera particularly when used with the Dallmeier recorder, he adds. “In a live situation, it definitely wins hands down.”
The test was something Declan Nolan had been looking forward to undertaking. “I had viewed the demo on the Dallmeier website and used the cameras on several installations, but the comparison of both images proved the superiority of Cam_inPIX® technology.”
There is little trouble in the centre, though the CCTV system has been used successfully in solving some crime including theft attempts to tamper with cash dispensers. The recordings have been used on a TV crime show, giving a clear image of people wanted by Gardai, the Irish police.
But the use of CCTV goes far wider than crime detection. In Nutgrove, the system is regarded very much as a management instrument rather than purely a security tool. The CCTV is also a valuable asset in the management of the extensive car park as incidents involving parked cars can also be reconstructed and the people responsible identified. Also, the system assists in identifying traffic control requirements. Cameras are trained on the entrances and exits, enabling all number plates to be recorded.
Furthermore, the observance of all health and safety legislation can be monitored at any time.
“We particularly recommend Dallmeier recorders because they are the market leader and have Kalagate certification,” adds Mr Nolan. “It means there is no doubt about your evidence being used in court – it is one of the reasons why we steered Nutgrove Shopping Centre towards the Dallmeier in the first place. Recordings cannot be contested.”
Reliability, service, the warranty and a user-friendly product were all important factors in choosing Dallmeier, as was the ease of transition from the old system, recalls Mr Hesse. “It had to be a seamless transition from the old video-based system to the digital platform - we could not have afforded any downtime,” he says. “We have been pleased that we made that choice.”
Equally, he has no regrets about the decision to select DNA Security, which was established in 1996 to provide bespoke security solutions to commercial and residential clients in Dublin and the surrounding counties. The company is a member of The Private Security Authority and is certified by the National Standards Authority of Ireland. “Since we awarded the contact to DNA Security in 2000 we have benefited greatly through prompt service and expertise in transformation of our security systems. The benefit in employing a local firm has been enormous to Nutgrove shopping centre. Since that day we have never regretted the decision to award DNA the contract,” he says.
Recording takes place whenever movement is detected, which is for much of the day as some shops are open 24 hours and cars pass by at all times. “There is someone in the control room and people on the doors for every minute of every hour of every day throughout the year,” says Mr Hesse. The security officers and car park attendants appreciate knowing that they have the backup of the camera system if a volatile situation occurs.
He and his team have a close relationship with the police, particularly in the event of an incident which they may need to investigate. One of the benefits of the system is the simplicity of the operation to go back to a specific date and time. It is quick and easy to filter and access individual items and cameras, which the investigators appreciate.
Protecting the data
Compliance with data protection regulations was another important factor in choosing Dallmeier. “We are only allowed to keep information for 28 days,” explains Mr Hesse. DNA has set up the new system to keep the maximum, while ensuring that the data protection requirements are met by automatically erasing recordings after the time limit.
A range of other system settings ensure the protection of data. “One of the things that we have done is to take the downloading and printing of pictures away from the security team,” he says. All images required for investigation are stored on a management PC, so no images can be removed without permission. Permission level options were vast and varied from camera to camera and the Dallmeier system provided the flexibility to achieve the requirements.
A strict regime has been put in place, with signed-off applications required to view and download the recordings. “At every stage there needs to be a valid reason to download or give the information out,” he stresses. This formal regime extends to the police, who are content to comply.
A recent court case in Ireland has focused attention on the importance of proper CCTV management. A judge threw out the case because the operating staff couldn’t use the equipment properly. “People in Ireland are very aware that they need to be able to use these things and use them well,” adds Mr Hesse.
Hesse is convinced that it is better to regularly invest in innovations in order to avoid technological gaps. “We wouldn’t like to see ourselves return to the position we were in a few years ago when we had an antiquated system.” Hence, there are already plans to expand the system at the shopping centre. “We would be looking to upgrade and keep ahead of the game all the time,” says Mr Hesse.