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October 2020
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Axis network cameras help bring state-of-the-art surveillance to Breckland

Covering an area of about 500 square miles, Breckland is made up of the five market towns of Attleborough, Dereham, Swaffham, Thetford and Watton and also a number of industrial areas and rural communities.

The area’s ageing CCTV system has contributed to keeping crime rates low. Having deployed the system in the mid 90s, the council was keen to upgrade the system to one that was both cost effective and that offered flexible monitoring.

The council wanted to move away from traditional CCTV to a digital system that would make footage taken from across the region easy to locate and share. Using cameras that could be relocated to new locations gave the council flexibility and avoided the expense of installing new cameras.

A seamlessly digital solution

Having considered a variety of options, the council decided that an IP-based surveillance system that was seamlessly digital from the camera through to the transmission network and the recording platform with wireless technology, would best fit their needs.

Having considered specialist telecoms advice, the council then put the project out to competitive tender. Axis’ partner, Advance Monitoring Solutions (AMS) was awarded the contract for its innovative approach to the supply, installation and maintenance of a new cutting-edge surveillance system.

AMS is working with the council as part of a 10 year Public Private Partnership contract to develop the system commercially which will allow authorised partners such as residents or local businesses immediate access to footage.

Commenting on the system, John Wilkins, technical director, AMS, said: -Breckland District Council is one of the first councils to take the plunge and go entirely digital with its surveillance system. As the market leader in network video, Axis cameras offer the level of functionality required for this innovative system.

We are very impressed with the council’s open mindedness to realising how the very latest technologies can bring efficiencies and flexibility to public space surveillance in a way not previously seen within the industry.

Axis Communications was chosen to supply the network cameras and 70 AXIS Q-6032-E, outdoor-ready PTZ dome network cameras were installed in and around the region. Footage from the cameras is transmitted via an Alvarion wireless system.

PTZ cameras are ideal for live monitoring where the user needs to actively follow a person or object. Coupled with H.264 compression and 35x optical zoom lenses, the cameras are able to read car number plates at distances of up to 160 metres which is about the length of one and a half football pitches.

The cameras deliver high resolution image quality, coupled with high frame rates which are very important when dealing with fast moving objects and varying light conditions. The cameras are also designed to be discrete, easy to install, withstand harsh weather conditions and are also tamper proof.

The council is also using a number of rapid deployment mega pixel cameras from Axis which can be deployed in ‘hot spot’ areas as and when required.

Footage from the cameras is managed by AMS via its proprietary video management and monitoring system, Medusa.

Meeting the needs of the community

Grahame Green, community safety officer for Breckland District Council said: -The wireless system offers us a level of functionality and flexibility that our old system was unable to provide. It is now far easier and cheaper for us to relocate the Axis cameras as we no longer need to rely on costly fibre optics.

Breckland’s Public Place Partnership is delivering a host of benefits to the local area, with one of the main beneficiaries being the police. Norfolk Constabulary now has the ability to share images across the network so that any footage can be viewed remotely. This can help save the police a considerable amount of time and money as it means they don’t have to travel to the control room or a specified control centre to view footage.

Long term, the council fully expects its investment in the system to pay for itself by providing surveillance and security monitoring services to other people in the community such as local businesses and residents.

Grahame Green and his team are working together with AMS to ensure that the system is fully used by the police and other stakeholders. Grahame is confident that the system will help to ensure Breckland remains a safe place to live and work for many years to come as more residents and business users start to use the system to monitor their own properties.

Grahame Green concludes: -Transferring from a fixed analogue to a next generation digital surveillance system has been a challenge as we are one of the first councils to make this leap, but it was extremely well managed by AMS. We now have an extremely innovative, cost effective and flexible system that will serve our community well for years to come.

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