News Archive

Night On The Forecourt

by msecadm4921

Chris Connors of Visual Verification, considers remote monitoring beyond standard video services. Here in concertina fashion he looks at applies a remote solution to one night’s proceedings at petrol service stations.

6:33pm: Youths have congregated on the garage forecourt and begin to cause trouble, threatening customers. The petrol attendant for the evening presses the panic alarm (under his counter) which is relayed to the monitoring station. Through use of the two-way audio capability the operator can hear the group and issues an audio warning within seconds. The group soon disperses.

8:49pm in the snack & shop: Nearing the end of his shift the worker serves a customer who is causing him concern and becoming increasingly aggressive. Having filled his car the gentleman is trying to pay for his petrol with a credit card which after four attempts will not be accepted. After being informed that his card will not be accepted, the customer becomes abusive and as he threatens violence the worker presses the panic alarm. Control of the situation is passed to remote staff who can hear the conversation escalating. An audio warning is given and the gentleman, having initially been shocked, eventually pays with cash after being threatened with police intervention by the operator.

12.15am: A lone female is now in charge of the station. She soon has harassment from teenagers fresh from a night on the town. The shop is now closed and all transactions are made through the protective window counter. When the group becomes aggressive and begins to spit at the window (among other things) the assistant engages with the monitoring station and after an audio warning, the group leaves.

2.31am: and all appears quiet at the petrol station. A car arrives at pump three and fills up in the normal manner. However having done so, the driver gets straight back in his car and screeches away, not even considering payment. The assistant informs the monitoring station. The operator, having reviewed the footage remotely from the on-site digital video recorder, provides the police with the model, colour and registration of the vehicle and description of the driver.

3:05am: Police appear on site to collect the evidence. Having caught the culprit a few miles away on the motorway the officers now require the footage. Visual Verifications operations manager has already supplied the required footage in evidential quality format, as an e-mail from the monitoring station. The police have the evidence to charge the offender back at the station.

4.10am: the Monitoring Station is alerted to a non-sale through till number two. Through the till surveillance facility, an e-mail is automatically sent to the area manager with the video footage of the incident.

All these incidents occur and according to retail management are on the increase, partly due to the rapid rise in petrol prices over the past few months. In each case the quick response and quality of service prevents further escalation of incidents, and aids isolated staff and police in crime prevention.

About the author: Chris Connors, 25, has worked for remote CCTV monitoring firm Visual Verification since 2003. Visual Verification regularly host forums at their offices in Timperley, Cheshire.

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