Silent Sentinel - Silent Sentinel Oculus camera helps Hackney Council’s surveillance

Silent Sentinel Oculus camera helps Hackney Council’s surveillance

Leading surveillance manufacturer Silent Sentinel, has supplied the popular Oculus day/night high-speed 'ruggedised' PTZ cameras for the London borough of Hackney's expanding CCTV operation.

Leading surveillance manufacturer Silent Sentinel, has supplied the popular Oculus day/night high-speed 'ruggedised' PTZ cameras for the London borough of Hackney's expanding CCTV operation. Following a trial of the equipment at a council owned car park, the local authority gave the go-ahead to installer Dennis Johns Electrical for installation of a dozen Oculus units to provide surveillance capability in some challenging areas of the borough.

Andy Wells, Deputy Head of Hackney's CCTV and Emergency Planning Service, explains that some of the cameras were recently installed, for example, to survey a housing estate where problems occur involving gangs of youths using guns and knives. “We needed the Oculus cameras for this application because we knew they were likely to be attacked with weapons including bricks, catapults and air rifles after being installed,” he comments.

Hackney is one of London's largest boroughs, with more than 200,000 residents, and has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous – it's often referred to as a high crime 'gun borough'. But since the CCTV and Emergency Planning Centre was set up in 2002, including a relocated and significantly expanded CCTV control room that went live on 1st January 2003, its work in partnership with the Metropolitan police has seen crime and disorder falling.

“We introduced Oculus to Mr Wells because it's a quality camera, marketed at a realistic price, with important vandal resistant qualities for these uses at Hackney,” adds Tony Lynch, Director of Dennis Johns Electrical (DJE). “We felt the camera offered the council good value for money and the additional benefit of being very reliable in operation.”

DJE itself was established back in 1972 and provides services including electrical installation, test and inspection, design and specification, plus maintenance and project management. It is one of only three term contractors to be awarded a five-year contract by Hackney council – an endorsement of its standards of workmanship and service.

Andy Wells expresses his own satisfaction with the way the Oculus units have performed so far: “They're popular with our control room operators because although they have a larger mass than a dome camera they provide sharp and accurate response to movement commands – they pan quickly and stop on a button, as well as moving fast from pre-set to pre-set positions. There have been no reliability issues to date and we've been pleased with the engineering help and set-up advice we've received from Silent Sentinel.

“Oculus is a discrete and low profile camera that is good in tight locations such as narrow streets and where there are restricted viewing points and higher densities of cameras. In fact it's so versatile we regard it as a dome camera with a hardened casing.”

Beginning with a 32-camera system, Hackney council invested in an emergency planning suite that included a relocated and significantly expanded control room the borough's surveillance cameras are being used to address the perception of crime among residents and visitors, and tackle issues such as community safety from robberies, drug usage, and other types of crime including potential terrorist acts.

Commenting on the council's use of Oculus, James Henrycroft, Marketing Manager of Silent Sentinel, the manufacturer of Oculus, reports that the camera can look upwards unlike traditional PTZ domes and also has a flat window too, which means no distortion! “We are confident that the town councils will like operating this fantastic Silent Sentinel product from the comfort of the control room”.

The Oculus range was recently bolstered with new models including the Silent Oculus 36 with a useful 36:1 optical zoom, infrared equipped units using IR750 and IR 500 long-range infrared illuminators, the Oculus Thermal which combines thermal and optical technologies within the same camera housing, and the Oculus Radar Detection System for detecting and tracking intruders moving at ranges up to a 500-metre radius from the sensor.