Room observation system for detention facilities

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Sovereign Fire and Security has released a room observation system (ROS) to promote the welfare of vulnerable people in secure hospitals, mental health units, immigration centres and any kind of detention facility. The product will oversee duty of care but at the same time protect staff from spurious claims of mistreating or neglecting inmates.

The ROS consists of a high-security camera mounted inside the secure room paired with an Audio Visual Unit (AVU) installed outside the monitored area. Viewing and operation of the AVU is only possible for authorised users with valid electronic access control (EACS) credentials.

The system allows contact with the occupant under controlled conditions and removes the need for manual record-keeping since all actions taking place at the AVU are logged automatically so creating a powerful audit-trail. This not only saves hours during a night shift when occupants can be observed efficiently and without risk by a single member of staff but also frees up their time to focus on core duties involving the general well-being of people in their care.

Another key benefit for users such as secure hospitals and custodial units is the ability to observe people without disturbing them when they are sleeping.  Nurses and warders are also protected should the behaviour of their charges become volatile.

The unit is designed as an observation package for any environment with similar demands and constraints to those found within custody estates. The vandal-resistant camera and frame fit flush into the corner of the room so factoring out potential ligature points.

The ROS was originally designed in response to cases in police custody where incomplete or even falsified observation records have come to light in death-in-custody tragedies. It soon became apparent that a system that can minimise the opportunity for human error in the protection of vulnerable people was equally appropriate in many other facilities apart from custodial environments. 

The access control log in the AVU unit automatically creates an audit trail of when a room occupant is checked on, for how long and by whom. It also allows restriction of who can observe the room. These digital log records cannot be compromised and the powerful record of interaction helps protect the room occupant as well the personnel and institution whether it be during audits or as part of continuing improvement procedures.

Consultants and installers should note that SFS is able to integrate the observation system with all major brands of access control equipment. There are many powerful options such as connection to nurse call systems and connection to local recording elsewhere at the premises or even to centralised recording.

These integration features have been developed based on SFS’s broad experience of high-security custody and mental health estates. The observation unit not only gives management peace of mind in terms of the integrity of the activity data produced but makes a compelling business case by eliminating manual creation of paper-based logs.

As well as delivering operating cost benefits, the ROS has been designed to minimise energy usage with auto shutdown when not in use saving power costs and also extending the product lifecycle.

SFS work throughout the UK from a base in the south-west. The company has drawn on its CCTV and access control experience across many custody and healthcare estates to create the secure room observation unit and develop it in line with end-user needs.

www.sovereignfireandsecurity.co.uk

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