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News

Camera design reduces risk to Australia's prisoners

Techniche Security And Surveillance : 20 July, 2009  (Application Story)
Techniche Security and Surveillance are introducing corner mounted custodial cameras to prisons in Australia to monitor possible suicide attempts without the camera itself presenting any danger
Camera design reduces risk to Australia's prisoners
Sydney-based CCTV integrator Techniche Security & Surveillance has introduced a corner-mounted camera in response to the increasing necessity of reducing self-harm in Australian prisons.

While safe or "Muirhead" cells have been designed to eliminate potential hanging points from light fittings and plumbing, the need to check for possible suicide attempts on CCTV also requires cameras where ligature points have been designed out to zero.

Data from the Australian Institute of Criminology has consistently shown that suicide is the leading cause of death in the country's prisons. In the period 1980-2007 the institute reports that 1,206 deaths occurred in prison custody in Australia of which 484 were by hanging, a figure that even exceeds natural causes (453.)

But Techniche are addressing this through their alliance with a British company, Conway Security Products, who manufacture the cameras. The equipment is already in use with several of the UK's largest police forces.

Techniche have recognised the potential of the units, and as an organisation that prides itself on responsiveness to market needs, the company will be demonstrating the product during Security 2009 at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre (24-26 August.)

Lee Evans of Techniche said: "Since our partner both designs and manufactures the product at their headquarters we can, where necessary, tailor the camera to the footprint of previous units. This produces economies by not disrupting the rest of a security installation, so making efficient use of the client's budget. Given the autonomy among the various prison services in Australian states, we need a responsive partner so that we can be flexible in configuring the equipment to client demands."

Techniche see potential applications of the corner-mounted camera unit as diverse, covering usage in youth detention centres, court holding cells, charge desks, asylum facilities and among the general prison population. Low cost of ownership makes the product attractive and the unit is 'green' since energy consumption has been minimised.

The product consists of a fixing frame and the camera unit itself, with the unique offering being a flush fitting with no leverage possibilities even in corners that are slightly greater or less than 90 degrees. A recessed machined-steel plate with a Lexan screen protects the device from attack or interference. Once the frame is fitted, the camera is easily adjusted to optimise the angle of view for specific observation needs. On-site engineering hours for installation and maintenance are reduced, so freeing up cells for occupation and minimising downtime. Engineers need take only minimal tools into the institution, this being a crucial factor at locations where the presence of potential weapons is a concern for correctional officers.

The unit features a day/night camera with IR cut filter and a fixed 2.5mm lens as standard. Availability of audio should the client require it accords with Techniche's culture of providing fully-integrated security and building management systems. The camera is fitted with twin 940nm infrared LED emitters. 940nm infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye, can be invaluable in an environment where room occupants may be in a distressed state as observation can continue under dimmed lighting or even complete darkness. One hundred percent coverage helps ensure that the occupant cannot find a blind spot in which to self-harm or ingest items. Authorities are also insistent that picture quality should be optimised since an accurate visual record of all events, notably interaction between staff and detainees, is paramount.
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