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News

Tales from a Remote Video Response Centre

RemGuard Visual Management, : 26 January, 2011  (Technical Article)
RemGuard Visual Management response centre operators relate some of the more colourful incidents that they've had to deal with recently
When it comes to remotely monitored, detector-activated CCTV, fact is often stranger than fiction according to the hardworking operators at RemGuard Visual Management's BS8418 compliant RVRC (Remote Video Response Centre).



Said Alan Collinge, Director of Operations at RemGuard Visual Management - part of AD Group: "Protecting customers against the threat of attack is a serious business, however sometimes when you see the behaviour of some of the criminals, and other suspicious individuals, on monitored sites you simply have to shake your head in disbelief and wonder if this is really happening!"



Over the years RemGuard's operators have certainly encountered their fair share of unusual and dim-witted incidents as the following 'top of the pops' for the criminally incompetent surely underlines:



Terminator Style Pest Control



The sight of a man wondering around a site in the West Midlands, over a weekend, brandishing a shotgun certainly put our operators on high alert as, with any firearms related incident, time is of the essence to warn the keyholder and the police so the area can be secured and action taken against the individual concerned. In this case it turned out that, far from the intruder being a hardened criminal who posed a serious threat to our customer's premises and the wider public, there was a much more mundane explanation, specifically according to the keyholder that it was in fact the local pest controller who thought that, with the site shutdown, it would be the ideal time to use his shotgun to dispatch some vermin.



Hitting the Wall



It is not just the antics of intruders on foot which catch the attention of our
RVRC operators, vehicles can also appear unannounced on monitored sites. A dramatic example of foolhardy driving was picked up in the early hours one morning when detectors were set-off at a commercial site we protect and the associated images sent to the RVRC. What the CCTV showed was a car being driven into the site's car park at speed and, without any apparent attempt to stop, straight into an adjacent brick wall. After all the debris from the impact had settled the car remained stationary, and, with the driver failing to emerge, the RVRC operators monitoring the scene quickly called the police who, when they arrived on scene, found a rather inebriated gentleman asleep at the wheel, none the wiser to the chaotic scene he had created around him.



A Tale of Two Transits



The evidence gathered by the CCTV cameras on our monitored sites can also prove decisive in revealing just how truthful some individuals are being when confronted by the police. One recent case that springs to mind involved a daytime collision between  two Transit vans on the main road outside a customer's site in Nuneaton. At the request of the police the customer asked us to review CCTV footage for the cameras which overlooked the road as the stories of the two drivers relating to the incident were diametrically opposed. The driver of the Transit van in front claimed that the other vehicle had driven into the back of him, while the driver of the van at the rear was adamant that the first van had stopped suddenly and then reversed into him. On reviewing the footage at the
RVRC we were able to help the police establish clearly that the driver of the first vehicle had, in fact, overshot his turning and, without checking his mirrors, simply slammed the vehicle into reverse causing it to career backwards into the van behind!



In the Sights of an AK47



Riding high in the realms of the unusual incidents we have to contend with was a situation at a waste management and recycling site in Hyde, Greater Manchester, where CCTV images showed two youths acting suspiciously with one teenager aiming what appeared to be an AK47 assault rifle from the adjacent Newton Railway Station at a crane driver, who was naturally extremely perturbed by the turn of events and alerted his boss and RemGuard. This case received much media attention at the time and at RemGuard we were able to support our customer by providing key images of the youths for the police to review. This footage helped to bring about the arrest of the suspects with a 15 year old given a final warning and a 17 year old a community order. Although, ultimately, the AK47 turned out to be a replica the threat seemed very real to the crane driver who found himself in the firing line.



A Shaggy Dog Story



One of the most common excuses offered by intruders when challenged by our
RVRC operators is that they are 'only walking the dog', something which always has to be taken with a pinch of salt. This certainly failed to be a convincing alibi for one criminal at a freight depot when the police could find no evidence of the actual dog and the individual could not even remember the name of his faithful companion! The case was sealed when the only thing the police search revealed were the stolen goods he had secretly stashed away nearby.



We Can See You!



Playing a game of 'hide and seek' with the police was not the smartest step for an intruder to take at a Birmingham builders' merchants after he climbed into their yard on a Sunday afternoon. His unwelcome appearance at the merchants was picked-up immediately at RemGuard's
RVRC where he was seen by operators talking on his mobile phone 'stealing to order'. When the local police arrived he was in, what he thought, was a perfect hiding place behind a JCB. What he had failed to reckon with was his every move being followed on camera. It was a simple matter for RemGuard's operators to direct the police straight to the bewildered criminal's hideaway.



Don't Disturb the Neighbours



Cameras placed around a site can often be unsettling for a location's less salubrious neighbours as an incident at a car dealership proved. After a camera at a site failed images were naturally reviewed pre-fail to see what the cause might have been. To everyone's surprise it was discovered that a man had actually walked across the road, from the house opposite, up to the camera and attempted to physically remove it from its mounting. When the police were shown the images they advised the
RVRC that this individual was actually a local drugs dealer, who, being paranoid about the potential for the camera to pick-up his illegal activities had decided to put it out of action!
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