Tips on securing the clubhouse from criminals

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick December 16, 2011 12:37

Tips on securing the clubhouse from criminals

Enjoying a game of golf when the weather is fine is a regular pastime for thousands of people every week in the UK. Heading back to the club afterwards and taking part in the social aspect of the game is an integral part of that experience. From a security point of view, making golf courses hard for potential intruders to penetrate poses more taxing questions for those responsible for the club’s security.

Because of the large areas involved, securing a golf club is a difficult and potentially expensive business. Deterrent is the name of the game here, making vast, potentially unmanned, areas as secure as places that are permanently staffed. So, how do you secure such a large piece of land as well as all the assets on site?

Integrated layer approach

Using integrated security measures that complement each other will make potential intrusion onto the property more difficult, and is a good way of making a large area secure. Taking a lead from the cargo industry, which also has to secure huge areas that are difficult to manually patrol, could potentially be an ideal place to start in securing the site.

Adopting what is known as an ‘onion ring’ approach, where several layers of security are used, starting from the site’s perimeter all the way back to individual building security, golf clubs can secure themselves from would-be intruders. Using this approach, the outer perimeter then becomes a key starting point in terms of physical protection combined with electronic and / or security patrols.

Using strong fencing around the perimeter that provides an initial layer of security is the most obvious form of deterrent. These do not have to look oppressive and many security fences can now be specifically designed to blend in with the surrounding environment. This serves a dual purpose – providing a strong physical barrier to would be intruders, while also enhancing the aesthetic appearance of the course. Within the perimeter fencing itself, ensuring that any access points have reinforced or drill-resistant locks is beneficial, though coupling this with CCTV security will greatly enhance the effectiveness of the overall solution.

CCTV

As has been proven over the years, CCTV can be an extremely efficient form of security protection. Cameras strategically placed around the site can provide a thorough coverage of large areas, and if the system is outsourced to a private security company, can be monitored 24/7. Providing an in-house security solution here could also be effective, with security on site to protect the site and its contents.

If it is a large-scale area you are protecting that will require multiple screens to be monitored at once, there are ways to be as efficient as possible when watching over an area. Recent advances in technology mean you could streamline this process by employing either motion sensors for the CCTV, where the cameras only start rolling when there is movement, or by using fence-mounted vibration detectors that trigger an alert in the security control room.

BS8418

There is also the option of using the BS8418 system, which consists of cameras and detectors placed strategically around a site, linked together by specialised transmission equipment to a Remote Video Response Centre (RVRC). Here, operators can visually confirm what is happening, call up on-screen plans of the site and even issue verbal warnings to intruders via on-site speakers. If necessary, the RVRC operators can also alert the police who, as the incident is confirmed visually and is associated with a URN (Unique Reference Number), should provide a rapid response.

The system receives a ringing endorsement from Pauline Norstrom, chairman of the BSIA’s CCTV section: “End users are placing increased value upon BS8418 solutions, particularly when it comes to securing large and vulnerable sites out-of-hours, with respondents reporting a 22 per cent increase in usage over the past 12 months.

“The crime-stopping capability of BS8418 solutions is clearly what makes them more and more popular. Our survey showed that over 50 per cent of our respondents’ client base take advantage of the audio challenge capability offered by such systems to warn off intruders at the earliest possible stage. The biggest perceived benefit according to the survey was the reduction in false alarms which comes through visual confirmation.”

Video Content Analysis (VCA)

VCA is an intelligent form of security used in securing large areas that are difficult to patrol and pose a challenge. VCA is the automatic analysis of CCTV images to create useful information about the content. The scope of VCA is certainly impressive and expands all the time, for instance it can now be applied for external and internal intruder detection; the monitoring of buildings for health and safety; people counting; automatic event and incident detection; safety enhancements for public areas; smoke and fire detection; and camera failure or sabotage detection.

In theory any ‘behavior’ that can be seen and accurately defined on a video image can be automatically identified and an appropriate alert raised. Such an intelligent approach, with attention focused on the most relevant CCTV footage, has the potential to allow resources to allocate more effectively and remedial action to be taken before incidents have a chance to escalate to a more serious level.

Security patrols

Security patrols by foot or by vehicle are fundamental when responding to intruder detection and also give a highly visible security presence. The feeling of security for both visitors and staff is also enhanced by the presence of security officers manning access points and by security guards carrying out random patrols both in the buildings and in the perimeter area. Security patrols are often responsible for managing technological aspects of a site’s security solutions, such as CCTV or access control. They can be an expensive form of security, but the ability to react quickly to developing situations as well as their obvious deterrent to potential intruders mean they are well worth the cost, should there be deemed enough of a benefit to having them.

Access control

Should an intruder reach the site’s clubhouse, pro shop or changing rooms, access control systems can represent the next crucial layer of protection beyond a site’s perimeter. Effective security technology that’s easy to use is a feature of ‘smart’ access control systems, which represent the next layer of security protection within the ‘onion ring’ approach. Depending on the location and sensitivity of the building or area involved, access control measures can range from paper-based logging systems for temporary passes through to access control cards that use radio frequency identification (RFID) chips for more convenient proximity reading of card details and activation of gates, turnstiles and vehicle barriers. This type of high tech security does provide a safe and secure environment for patrons of a club, and also provides a highly visible statement to any potential intruders that the club is secure and will more than likely result in them being caught should they attempt to break in.

Vehicular access

Taking a lead from the freight industry, using vehicular access systems can also be productive in securing a site. In terms of physical security, moving barriers can be combined with sophisticated electronic technology such as Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, which can be used in conjunction to effectively control traffic flow onto the club’s premises while keeping an accurate record of the details of each vehicle to enter and leave the site.

The fact is that attempting to keep an area as large as a golf course well protected is always going to be difficult. In practice, there is plenty of scope for practical, robust security measures that will keep a site as safe and secure as possible. Technology is undoubtedly helping make sites like these easier to protect, and in doing so make the experience your members and visitors have when golfing as safe and enjoyable as possible.

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick December 16, 2011 12:37
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