School’s out for summer (but we’re not)

public-sectorIt may be the summer holidays for Schools across the country but it’s certainly a busy time for our surveyors and engineers.  They are using the time to spec, install and maintain a variety of different school security systems.

Over the past few years Security has become a major part of a school’s management and governance responsibilities.  Senior management teams are under increasing pressure to ensure their school fully complies with the latest safeguarding and other staff and child protection obligations.

Smarter technology

The sites and structures of many school buildings have traditionally presented challenges when it comes to creating the right level of security protection.  The good news is that technological advances have meant intruder, access control, CCTV and fire detection systems are now more precise in pinpointing incidents across a site and issuing an alert.

Less cabling and lower costs

At the same time, wireless technology and security systems which utilise a school’s existing IP network are reducing the need for cabling and, as a result, the cost of systems is coming down. It also means that installation work can often be done discreetly during School hours, and not necessarily left till the holidays.

Greater systems integration for management efficiencies

Security technology is also integrating far more effectively with other school systems and processes.  Access control systems now integrate with electronic registration, cashless vending and school printer networks to establish permissions and provide logs and audit trails.  These systems no longer rely on identity passes, and often now feature bio-metric functionality such as fingerprinting to avoid problems occurring with lost cards.

Creating a positive learning environment

Security will always be a key concern of school management teams and rightly so.  They are responsible for ensuring both pupils, staff and equipment remain safe and secure in the School site. Security systems are helping them fulfil their obligations and create a positive learning environment.

For example, CCTV systems are supporting work within schools to tackle bullying and ensure the effective implementation of anti-bullying policies. Where schools lease out their premises out of hours, CCTV and access control systems are helping to reduce damage, theft and alert school managers to behaviour which is at odds with the school’s safeguarding policies.

If you would like to learn more about how we could help your school or college with its security arrangements, contact the team on tel 01483 791500.

A great 16 months of security solutions

James Lewis, Business Development Manager at Absolute Security, reflects on an exciting period of innovative customer projects and cutting-edge security solutions from the team.

 

James Lewis – Absolute Security

As I look back over my first 16 months at Absolute Security, I’m delighted by so many highlights that spring to mind.  For some they’ve involved cutting-edge security innovations – with the team devising solutions to respond to the increasingly sophisticated security challenges our customers face.

Other highlights stem from the relationships I’ve formed with key customers and contacts, and how we add value and support them as their preferred security specialist.

So, whilst in a reflective mode, I thought it would be good to share some of those highlights in this post.

 

Overhauling the fire and security system at popular racing/event venue

A key project this year is the work we are undergoing, upgrading and improving the fire and security systems at a popular racing event venue.  This is to ensure they comply with the latest regulations.  It has given the venue a far more manageable solution, as well as faster reporting and more precise alerts to potential incidents as they arise.  It will greatly aid their speed of response going forward.

 

Damage-proof fire suppression for luxury car enthusiast

It was also great to help a customer who wanted a fire suppression system to protect his fleet of luxury cars.  The 31 cars are housed in an underground car park in his home and he wanted a fire suppression system which would extinguish a fire, but not damage the vehicles in any way.  Conventional systems using water or foam were clearly not suitable.  We therefore designed and installed an inert gas suppression system. This uses specific gases to extinguish a fire and, at the same time, leaves the vehicles unscathed.

 

State of the art security system for sizeable property development

Another highlight is our involvement in an extensive single dwelling property development. Here the home owner wanted a state of the art security system.  Our solution involved high-tech perimeter security, thermal imaging PTZ CCTV, security lighting and integration with their home building management system. This is so intruder detection, fire and access control integrates into the central Audio-Visual hub for the home and is managed from one source.  One safety example of this integration is that when the fire alarm is activated, all media systems throughout property automatically silence to alert the home owner.

 

Home building management systems become all the rage

In fact we’ve seen a lot of interest amongst home owners for home building management systems.  You can see the attraction for them of bringing elements such as home entertainment systems, phone, access/gate systems, heating/air conditioning as well as security and fire protection into one central control.  And many of these systems enable the home owner to view the status of their property and possessions when they’re away, via app technology.

 

Discreet fire detection

Another highlight this year was to work with a new manufacturer to Absolute Security.  Wagner, specialise in air sampling solutions – a smoke detection system that works through discreet capillary holes in the ceiling. It assesses the air quality throughout the property, raises the alarm and is room specific on the area of the activation.

 

Working with great teams

It’s been great to support our customers over the past year – not just with security solutions, but also in finding other ways to support their business.  One particular example of this was participating recently in Park Garages’ Cricket Day. The event brought together all their staff, customers and suppliers for a great day of this summer sport.

And of course it’s been brilliant to work with my not so new now, fellow colleagues at Absolute Security.  Their commitment to quality and care of our customers is impressive.  Care also extends to our role in the local community and environment.  It was really good to see a number of the sales team switching over to electric hybrid cars in 2018.

The time has certainly flown by and I’m now looking forward to my next year with the team. Given how fast security and fire prevention technology evolves, and the need to help customers protect their properties and possessions, I’m sure it’ll be another exciting year.

If you’d like to get in touch about any of the solutions I’ve described here, please contact me on t 01483 791500 or email me.

What to expect from Security technology in 2018

Security technology has a constant habit of evolving. In this article we’re given a glimpse of the very latest developments and popular trends that will continue into 2018.

As intruders get smarter in their approaches, and the threat of violent crime continues to concern people, so does the security technology to combat it.

 

  1. More sophisticated perimeter protection – for both homes, businesses and other organisations alike the security of their premises perimeter has become paramount in recent months. Be it to deter burglars, other intruders or the threat of violent crime such as acid attacks, we’ve seen a big rise in interest in CCTV, automatic gates and systems integration with intruder alarms. The technology for these are becoming more precise.  On the CCTV front high-definition developments are serving up even sharper images. With access control systems, many give property owners greater ease of management by enabling them to operate their system remotely via and app, or log-in to view who is on the premises.

 

  1. Smarter recognition – CCTV systems are also becoming smarter. Avigilon have developed systems which, using vehicle recognition and facial recognition technology, can pinpoint a specific vehicle or person in a given territory or across a site.  This brings greater speed of identification and location of a missing vehicle, person or an intruder, in a given space.

 

  1. Completely wireless intruder alarm systems – gone are the days when intruder alarm systems needed wiring. The latest models are completely wireless and more versatile for installation on a premises. This is great news for properties with historic features or aesthetics which need to be maintained.  The physical impact on a property from an intruder alarm installation is greatly reduced.

 

  1. Integrated systems for a more holistic protection – various security systems such as CCTV, intruder, gates and access control now integrate more easily and seamlessly with each other to give more holistic security protection to a site. This makes them easier for the home, business or site owner to manage and monitor.

 

  1. Flush smoke detectors – a new development we’re expecting to see in 2018 are smoke detectors which are flush to the ceiling and do not protrude. This will offer added protection to properties with important aesthetic features which have to be maintained.

 

If you would like to learn more about the latest security technology developments, why not contact our sales team on tel 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk

Protecting your home and possessions in the longer nights

Traditionally there is a rise in burglary offences at this time of year due to the longer nights and increased spending in the lead up to the Christmas period. Here’s a reminder of seven simple actions you can put in place to help protect your home.

 

  1. Make your property look occupied when you are not there by setting lights on a timer switch – vary which lights come on and when so it doesn’t become obvious that you are out

 

  1. Move anything of value out of view of your windows – go outside and see what an intruder may find enticing.

 

  1. Lock side gates of your property with a secure lock, not just a simple bolt and make sure all your windows, patio and conservatory windows are locked. Remember to lock kitchen and bathroom windows before you go out – these often get forgotten

 

  1. In the run up to Christmas store presents in a locked cupboard, preferably in a room protected by a burglar alarm detector/sensor

 

  1. Check your security lighting is working and consider CCTV if there is easy access to the rear of your property which an intruder could take advantage of. There are affordable infra-red versions that operate in the dark

 

  1. Once it is up, avoid putting wrapped presents under your Christmas tree, especially if they are visible through your windows

 

  1. Don’t leave keys for cars or back doors visible through windows or right by the doors in your property.

 

If you are concerned about the security of your home and possessions, contact the Absolute Security team for a free survey. Tel 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk

Electronic Gate Safety

Electronic Gates Free Health & Safety Check From Absolute Security

Automatic Gates give greater convenience and controlled access to all types of property –  from homes and businesses, through to major organisations and institutions. At the same time they offer valuable protection to:

  • Stop children and animals running out on to busy roads
  • Manage, monitor and control access to a site
  • Deter intruders and make access to the property difficult
  • Deter car thefts from drives

They can also help to reduce a home/commercial insurance premiums and can enhance the aesthetics of a property.

New technology for electronic gates

New technology in recent years have made Automatic Gates far more sophisticated and user-friendly, for example when it comes to controlling access they can:

  • Alert assigned fixed intercom or landline/ mobile phones, which can be responded to remotely by the property owner or a receptionist – they don’t have to be on-site to give/decline access
  • Enable the property owner to see the person at their gate, even if they are not on the premises – via two-way video-calling functionality linking to mobile phones
  • Programme permissions into the Gate’s access systems so dedicated people can gain entry. Permissions can be time-specific to permit entry at fixed times.
  • Number-plate recognition and other hands-free permission options – so, for convenience, the gates automatically open to approved people. They in turn don’t have to type in an access key, present a fob or buzz the intercom
  • Integrate with other security measures on a premises, for example CCTV and fire detection (in the case of the latter, so they don’t cause obstructions when people are trying to evacuate the premises, delay the emergency services or prevent a lock-down operation running smoothly)

Health & Safety considerations

Automatic gates tend to come in two varieties:

  • Electronic – Those which are controlled by access passes, intercoms or fobs and then open automatically
  • Manual – Those controlled by access passes, intercoms or fobs which then require a person to push them open

In the case of the first, new health and safety regulations have come into force over recent years.  These have focused on minimising the risk to people and things of getting trapped as the gate opens or closes.

This legislation focuses on aspects such as the gate and its system’s:

  • hinges
  • safety/pressure edge
  • photocells/ safety beams
  • support posts
  • control cabinet
  • warning mechanism

All commercial property is legally required to maintain automatic gates to meet current Health & Safety requirements – that includes multi-occupancy housing, schools, rented property and premises managed by companies. Home owners have a legal responsibility to ensure that their gate is safe for anyone using it.

So it is important to maintain your Electronic Gate (for example via a regular servicing regime). This will ensure its parts remain fully functional and compliant with the latest industry standards.  When looking to a maintenance/servicing company, ensure the engineers are Gate Safe trained and accredited.

Free survey

Absolute Security is offering property owners with Electronic Gates the opportunity to have a free Health & Safety to ensure their gates comply with the latest guidelines.  If you would like to take up this offer or are interested in how Automatic Gates would improve the security of your premises, please contact the Sales Team on tel 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk 

Security Service Engineer Vacancies

We’re hiring – security engineer vacancies at Absolute Security

Absolute Security is delighted to announce it has a number of vacancies, as the business continues to grow and meet customer demand.

The team is currently looking for:

  • Service engineers
  • Installation engineers
  • Junior engineers, including apprenticeship opportunities

..to join its busy service and installation division.

You can find out more here  and, to apply, contact Will Hucklebridge on tel 01483 791500 or email will@absolutesecurity.co.uk  No agencies please

Absolute Security Systems is a growing and successful business in the heart of Godalming, Surrey.  It was founded in 1989 and over the years has built up a loyal customer base and a great team working environment.  As well as competitive salaries, the company offers a pension and healthcare scheme and other benefits.

 

 

Securing a school’s perimeter

Fencing, gates and other perimeter security measures in schools continue to face increasing scrutiny.  Not only are Schools under pressure to tighten safeguarding measures to protect pupils and staff during the school day, many need to protect valuable equipment and prevent damage to the site from intruders ‘out of hours’.   With education budgets tightly squeezed, any loss or damage is keenly felt.

In our specialist security work with schools, we’re often asked to survey and advise on the robustness of a site’s perimeter security.  From the questions we’re often asked here are some key considerations to assist your school.

  1. Is fencing still fit for purpose?

Many schools occupy large and often fragmented sites.  As a result gaps in fencing from long-term wear and tear can go unchecked.  It is sensible to establish a regular check of the site’s perimeter fencing to ensure it still deters intruders.  Be on the look-out for any close hanging branches or buildings which can be used to help an intruder climb over fences.  If you do have trees in close proximity to your fence, do check after storms that no fallen branches have caused damage or weakened it.

 

  1. Consider CCTV

CCTV has been proven as a deterrent to intruders and also gives you a valuable source of evidence if a break-in occurs.  CCTV systems can be run off a school’s IP network to minimise the need for cabling and can be programmed to send an alert which pinpoints the exact location of a breach. Some CCTV cameras also come with sirens which can be utilised to send key security alert signals (eg in the case of a lock-down) to remote areas of a site.

  1. Ensure automatic gates comply with latest health and safety standards

Automatic gates in schools tend to come in two varieties:

  • Electronic – Those which are controlled by access passes, intercoms or fobs and then open automatically
  • Manual – Those controlled by access passes, intercoms or fobs which then require a person to push them open

In the case of the first, new health and safety regulations have come into force over recent years.  These have focused on minimising the risk to people and things of getting trapped as the gate opens or closes. Schools are recommended to ensure their gates meet the latest standards.  Do contact our team for a free assessment.

  1. Consider permission-led access control systems and doors

Some access control systems enable you to assign permissions to specific people for access to designated areas, and at certain times.  This can greatly help schools to manage and control who can and can’t access particular areas (such as science and IT labs) during the day and out of hours.  The systems can work with perimeter gates and doors on to the site too.

 

  1. Maintain a regular maintenance programme

Security systems such as intruder alarms, CCTV, access control and gates should receive a regular (annual) maintenance/service visit to ensure they remain fully functional.  Often a school’s insurer and OFSTED will look favourably on a regularly maintained system. With insurers, more competitively priced policies can be obtained as a result.

 

  1. Test your perimeter’s security for different scenarios

If you experience a problem with your school’s perimeter security, you want to be fully prepared to deal with it.  As part of the ongoing risk assessments and scenario planning schools undertake, it is worth factoring in different events involving the perimeter measures.  This will help to flag weaknesses which need to be addressed.  For example in a lock-down situation, do you want perimeter access points to be closed or open to get the intruder out and the emergency services in?  In the event of a fire, how will perimeter measures help or hinder evacuation and/or access for the emergency services?  By undertaking scenario-planning in this way, schools can strengthen their safeguarding and security procedures to factor in specific nuances of their site.

 

Summary

Unfortunately many school premises were built before security became such a concern and so present schools with many logistical issues.  Controlling access on to the site should be a key consideration of a school’s senior management. The key is to ensure perimeter security measures remain fit for purpose and support other safeguarding procedures. This can be achieved by periodic reviews, scenario planning and regular maintenance.

If you would like a free survey of your school’s perimeter security and automatic gate’s compliance with the latest Health and Safety, please contact one of our in-house education experienced surveyors on 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk

 

Ofsted adopts greater scrutiny of school security during inspections

 

In recent news reports it has emerged that Ofsted is adopting greater scrutiny of school security during inspections.  In some respects schools have found weaknesses in their site security have led to their Ofsted rating being downgraded. See this report.

Inspecting safeguarding directives

Much of Ofsted’s security focus has stemmed from new directives on the safeguarding of pupils.  An Ofsted spokesperson commented:

“Ofsted does not set the standards that schools and other education providers have to meet on safeguarding. Our job is to inspect against the standards and statutory guidance set by the Department for Education.  If a school’s safeguarding arrangements do not meet these requirements, then at inspection we will judge them to be ineffective, this will lead to an overall inadequate judgement.”

Common weaknesses in school site security

Often school sites were constructed before security became such a key expectation of school management. We are often called in to survey and report on a school’s security weaknesses and these tend to stem from the following areas:

  • Gaps and weak-points in perimeter fencing.
  • Access gates not meeting current European standards.
  • Manual-locking doors (and so not linked to an access control system).
  • Open access to all areas (rather than controlled access permissions through passes and locks, particularly for key ‘at-risk’ rooms such as IT suites, science labs etc).
  • Security systems failing short of the current standards.
  • The wrong type of access control electronic locking used on fire exits and fire routes. We have seen numerous examples of this including some, which have the potential for the lock to jam under side pressure and magnetic locks remaining locked in certain fault conditions.
  • Multiple and separate fire and intruder detection systems across the site, rather than one central system which can quickly pinpoint an alert and initiate a lock-down or other response procedures.
  • A lack of CCTV to monitor and record incidents during the school day and also out of hours. Schools still have safeguarding responsibilities when it comes to how the site is used by community groups beyond the school day.

How Absolute Security create robust school security systems

Our Education specialists have extensive knowledge and experience of school security systems.  We invest time to survey the unique issues for each school’s premises in order to find a robust and practical solution which supports their safeguarding policies.

We work with both the private and state education sector and advise on, install and maintain a wide range of school security systems including:

  • CCTV systems – including HD CCTV and those utilising an IP network
  • Access control – including intercom systems, passes and with remote monitoring options
  • Electronic VMS (Visitor Management Systems) for the “signing in and out” of visitors, contractors etc as well as utilising the same system to monitor and generate reports of late arrivals and pupils leaving early
  • Security lighting
  • Automatic gates and barriers
  • Intruder alarm systems
  • Fire detection systems
  • Integrating security systems – CCTV, access control, intruder alarm and fire detection for better centralised management and control
  • Installing dedicated networks for all a school or college’s security needs (if the current IP network isn’t able to cope with the security system functionality)

 If you would value a free survey of your school’s security measures, please contact The Sales Team on tel 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk

Absolute Security welcomes James Lewis from Buchanan and Curwen Security to its team

 

Absolute Security is delighted to announce the appointment of  James Lewis to its sales team.  James joins the Godalming-based security systems firm as a Business Development Manager.  He brings over 14 years’ experience in the security and fire detection industry and was previously a successful Sales and Project Manager at Buchanan and Curwen Security, before its recent takeover by Spy Alarms.

James has a track-record in successfully advising clients on a wide range of security systems including intruder alarms, CCTV and access control as well as fire detection systems.  He regularly helps homeowners, small and medium-sized businesses, as well as large corporate organisations to find the right solution for their security requirements.

Helping with security requirements of all shapes and sizes

Commentating on James’ appointment, Absolute Security Chairman Andy Rees said,

“We are delighted to welcome James to our sales team.  He has considerable experience of the operational management of high profile security contracts and has a track-record in ensuring the efficient, reliable and timely delivery of security projects.  His knowledge and understanding of the high industry standards the Absolute Security team adhere to means he’s fitting in really well.  We’ve been impressed with how well he’s supporting our new and existing clients with their security requirements.”

Surrey-based support for customers

James says he’s thoroughly enjoying being part of the Absolute Security team and adds,

“Absolute Security is such a well-respected firm in the area.  The breadth of security solutions it delivers for customers and its passion for maintaining high quality standards is very impressive.  It’s also nice to be with a Surrey business again, as my last firm was bought by a Kent-based company who closed the local office.  Saying that, I’m enjoying meeting Absolute Security’s customers around the whole of the South East of England and helping them find the right security solution for their needs. ”

About Absolute Security Systems in Surrey

Absolute Security specialises in a wide range of security systems and are accredited with many Security Industry Professional Bodies, this includes being a Gold-level Member with the National Security Inspectorate (NSI).

James Lewis can be contacted at the Absolute Security offices on tel. 01483 791500 or by emailing sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk.  More information about Absolute Security’s services can be found at www.absolutesecurity.co.uk