6 reasons to install a commercial CCTV system

On the face of things, closed circuit CCTV systems may seem to have one function and one function only: deterring break-ins. But in reality, a proactive and well-planned commercial CCTV system can deliver a multitude of benefits. There are many compelling reasons to invest in this increasingly sophisticated technology and manage your business risks.

Protect your perimeter

Perhaps the most apparent reason to invest in a strong CCTV system is to get clear footage of the weakest points of your commercial property – your entrances and exists. Thieves often target back entrances in the belief that little attention is likely to be paid to them out of hours. It’s no longer enough to have one static camera recording a fence or doorway in the hope that the footage can be recovered after a break-in; instead use motion sensors to capture footage of a wider area, then trigger a real time smartphone notification when movement crosses an identified line.

Duty of care to employees

As an employer, you have a legal ‘duty of care’ and are required to protect the health and safety of your employees. A well-designed commercial CCTV system can help you meet this obligation by providing you with a real time overview of different areas within your workplace, making it easier to quickly respond to potential hazards or risky employee behaviour. You may have particular areas where heavy machinery or hazardous chemicals are being used. Ensure only those with the appropriate training can enter by utilising facial recognition in conjunction with your CCTV cameras.

Protect yourself from false claims

Of course, there is a less noble side to health and safety concerns: false or exaggerated claims made in the hope of financial reward. Sadly, both members of the public and unscrupulous employees are prone to this kind of behaviour. CCTV provides an excellent way to cut the risk of lengthy and expensive claims by arming you with footage of what really occurred.

Further to this, in some industries sexual harassment is a significant issue and failure to address this can leave you exposed to expensive legal action. CCTV can provide important evidence with which to address complaints and protect your business from claims in court. It can also act as a significant disincentive to harassment in the first place: the result will be a safer, more welcoming workplace.

Other disputes can also be addressed quickly and fairly by clear CCTV footage – for example, confrontations between managers and employees.

Stock loss and pilferage

Stock and equipment losses due to break-ins and theft can cost thousands per year. Stock protection is profit protection.

Opportunistic theft is not, of course, confined to burglars and trespassers: employees with ready access to your stock and equipment sometimes contribute to pilferage too, eating into your profit margin. Visible CCTV installations can act as a major deterrent, as well as catching determined miscreants in the act.

In fact, employees who know they are being recorded and monitored might just…work harder. Less temptation to slack off outside designed break times means a more productive workforce and greater profits for your firm. Obviously though, a balance must be struck: too great a sense of surveillance will erode employee trust.

Prevent anti-social behaviour

It is routine for business CCTV systems to collect footage from the streets and areas surrounding the business premises in which they are installed. This means those businesses may find themselves in possession of footage showing antisocial behaviour or criminal activity – evidence which may prove invaluable to the Police and result in convictions. Discouraging criminal activity will benefit your employees and neighbours too. Do note that CCTV footage has to be a certain quality for acceptance as evidence in court. Any reputable installer should also advise you on the legalities of CCTV pointing at public and private property.

Insurance requirements

It is often a requirement for licensed premises such as pubs and bars to install CCTV. Without it, your insurance could be invalidated. Since CCTV significantly cuts the risk of theft and expensive claims, many insurance firms offer discounts on their premiums to other businesses which have installed reliable commercial CCTV technology as well.

However, a requirement to install CCTV shouldn’t mean just one static camera over the bar. Shops, pubs, restaurants and similar catering establishments can improve the design and layout of their interiors by monitoring the behaviour of each day’s customers. Does one particular table arrangement work better for diners than another? Are shoppers routinely losing their way between your aisles and displays? Find out and improve the retail or dining experience you offer to the world at large.

Dan Bradding
Written by Dan Bradding

Dan is a systems integration specialist and Director at Ace Fire and Security.