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Security Guards vs CCTV
On-site security is important, but there are few companies which put emphasis on cost when deciding which type of security to have. Having a visible deterrent which can also offer evidence and accountability for security is often of equal importance to cost, and is something that can be facilitated by two different security measures – CCTV surveillance systems and security guards. Both of these options offer that accountability and can act as a visible deterrent, but which is likely to be the most cost effective security system for your business?
Although considered to be the technological option, today’s sophisticated CCTV systems include remote monitoring, meaning that a human response element can be available as part of a CCTV package. As well as reducing incidences of false alarms as remote surveillance officers can ‘take a look’ when concerns are raised or alarms go off, contemporary CCTV packages now often include the benefits of:
- Providing a visible deterrent to protect your home or premises;
- Interactivity, with integrated audio systems for warning messages and alerts – 96% of intruders are put off by this and leave sites immediately* whilst systems can also be linked to remote security officers via speakers, so that security personnel can directly address intruders;
- Reliable 24 – 7 coverage;
- Providing recorded evidence which could be used to apprehend criminals or offer proof of trespass and anti-social activities such as drug dealing on vacant properties. Recordings also have a role in training and site management, such as in identifying callers in order to allow access;
- Adaptability, allowing their use at any kind of site;
- Systems which cannot be threatened or easily disarmed;
- Systems which can be linked to alarm monitoring and perimeters, as well as internal structures such as access control and alarms.
Although at first glance such sophisticated CCTV systems may seem costly, this is largely due to the initial outlay for installation – with costs which could be as much as having a physical guard 24 / 7 for a whole year.
However, after that first year and installation charge, costs reduce significantly to reflect just the charges for ongoing maintenance, monitoring and response in contrast to those guarding costs which remain at a constant per hour and are more likely to increase year-on-year, in line with the rate of inflation and for key periods such as bank holidays.
Additionally, finding a reputable CCTV company offering the right kind of credentials and technology to suit a range of homes and businesses can be relatively easy to achieve and you know exactly who you are dealing with, which significantly reduces the room for doubt about the quality of guarding personnel, or rogue guarding.
Of course, as well as the initial outlay for installation, there are several other possible disadvantages which even modern CCTV technology has not yet successfully addressed:
- False alarms can be a significant factor;
- CCTV is recognised as being less of a deterrent when it is used as a stand-alone security – the presence of an on-site guard usually offers more of a deterrent;
- Many CCTV systems may not offer the risk-free security many householders or businesses might want.
But how does the alternative for safeguarding your business and property shape up?
Every business premises or residential property is different and sometimes the personal touch for security is much more appropriate, particularly for businesses which require a front-of house assistance role, such as serviced apartments or office spaces. Needing this personal touch doesn’t mean having to go without the additional security benefits of technology though, as guard-based security systems can be easily linked to additional monitoring and guard teams.
Additionally, guards can be responsive to other issues that CCTV or remote surveillance may not pick up, such as utility, gas or chemical leaks, weather damage such as storms and flood damage or fly tipping in blind spots on larger sites. It’s easy to avoid blind spots altogether by ensuring that guards patrol all sections of a site, rather than relying on surveillance with limited coverage. Having physical guards also brings the additional benefits of:
- Providing a highly visual deterrent;
- Generating less false alarms, as issues can be directly investigated;
- Offering the potential for reducing overall costs by doubling up guard personnel with other required services such as management services;
- Offering real-time and on-site surveillance of CCTV, where both systems are used;
- Providing a more multi-sensory response, as guards may hear break-ins occur long before evidence can be seen via CCTV;
- Enhanced security with the addition of guard dogs.
As with all options though, using a guard security solution may offer a few disadvantages. Obtaining 24/7 security where it is needed may come at a high cost – and this is even before additional issues such as training, investment to ensure retention, loyalty and job satisfaction and rota or shift management are considered although these issues would be handled by your security firm of choice.
It’s also likely that, unless a whole team of guards is employed (particularly at a larger site) there will always be areas which are vulnerable, as a guard can only be in one place at a time – unless working in tandem with technology, which of course comes at its own cost.
So the solution?
The only way to be secure in your choice of security systems is to identify exactly which alternative presents the most cost-effective solution for your particular situation… but remember that cost-effective doesn’t mean cheapest!
Instead of considering what you can afford to pay, consider instead what you could possibly lose from making the wrong investment in security. If there are significant valuables on your site, you may want to consider that your best security option may not be an either /or choice between guards or CCTV, but something that makes the best of both systems, creating the bespoke service that you require, and to facilitate this you should choose high quality, trustworthy and reputable companies to manage any aspect of security you decide to use.
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