CCTV vs Security Guards

Is there any room to compare CCTV with security officers? When assessing security requirements, should one be prioritised over the other? Watchful eye security have been providing security solutions across a diverse field of clients for over 8 years and find the particular question pops up more often then you may think.

CCTV and alarm systems can be used for interior as well as exterior areas and whilst many people think that CCTV’s value is in capturing footage of vandals, trespassers or criminals, which can be used as evidence for apprehending and prosecution, the evidence benefits of CCTV happen after the event. In contrast, as the site owner, CCTV’s main value in protecting your site comes from the fact that it can be a very effective deterrent. When deployed in conjunction with 24/7 monitoring and an effective alarm, CCTV surveillance security can:

Provide a visible deterrent.
Provide an audible deterrent, as integrated audio systems can deliver clearly audible warning messages and alerts. Recent reports have shown that 96% of intruders are deterred by audible warnings and are likely to leave the site at once, rather than risk being caught, all of which is excellent prevention.
Provide interactive security, with links to remote (off-site) security officers, allowing these security personnel to directly monitor and address intruders.

Provide 24/7 surveillance and alarm capability.
Provide digitally recorded evidence for proof and identification purposes. This is not only valuable in terms of security for your own property, but also within the local community where anti-social behaviour can be identified and dealt with swiftly, before becoming a local nuisance.
Provide recordings which are useful for training and site management, for example when used as part of access / visitor monitoring systems.

Finally, other key benefits of CCTV and alarm systems are that they can be used at most types of sites and locations. Modern systems include surveillance capacity and alarms which cannot be readily disabled by intruders, yet can be easily linked to additional facilities or extended to other areas of the premises if the system needs to be expanded at a later date.

When it comes to cost though, CCTV systems generally require a significant initial outlay, for installation and system monitoring set-up. Although this may seem expensive, the durability and effectiveness of the system can render it cost-effective within just a few years, particularly in comparison to guard costs, which may rise in line with the cost of living. That being the case, just how does the effectiveness of a security guard system compare with CCTV?

Security Guards

Whether commercial or residential, once your site has been properly surveyed, you’ll have a much greater insight into whether remote CCTV monitoring or on-site security is the better option for your individual situation. For businesses which have significant footfall and accommodate valuable items, materials and personnel (each carrying their own valuables into work each day) then a physical security presence can be extremely beneficial.

Additionally, for vacant properties and those which are vulnerable when closed after business hours, guards can offer several benefits above those offered by CCTV alarm systems. These include:

Being responsive to elements and activities that CCTV or remote surveillance can’t identify, such as gas or chemical leaks, water main bursts and flooding, storm and weather damage.
Access to all areas as guards can patrol across whole sites all sections of a site, whereas some CCTV systems unavoidably offer limited coverage. For areas with significant blind-spots, guards can make a real impact in minimising anti-social behaviour such as fly-tipping and drug use in ‘out of the way’ locations on site.
Of course, like CCTV, security guard personnel provide a highly visual deterrent, but unlike CCTV they can also offer a very immediate physical response. This is important not only when issues arise, but also for identifying false alarms, as alarms can directly investigated before emergency services are summoned.

Like CCTV, security guards can be deployed 24/7, but there are some times, such as weekends and bank holidays, when this can incur additional expense. However, there is also the potential for doubling up guard services with other services, such as maintenance management, to help reduce costs overall. Personnel security can also be made more cost-effective by using it in conjunction with CCTV, to offer an on-site, real-time, multi-sensory response system, as guards may hear trespassers before these are evident on CCTV, particularly if they have made the effort to avoid cameras. The use of security guards can also be enhanced by using guard dogs, either on a regular basis or for specific events.

There is a lot to consider when weighing up the two solutions. Whatever your decision, it’s vital that you avail of the services of a reputable company. This will ensure peace-of-mind regarding the quality of the services and systems involved in securing your business or site. Some businesses prefer to combine proactive video monitoring with on-site security guards. The two working together offer a powerful security solution.

If you would like to discuss your security arrangements and for free advice, please contact us.

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