Security systems technology and the ‘One Trick Pony’ mentality



Michael Fairnie, Principal Consultant Maritime, Olive Group


The imposition and use of increasingly complex security technologies within the commercial port environment is often seen as an expensive additional cost to the core business. Or the common consensus is that security systems are a requirement which have limited functionality and correspondingly have not a great deal to offer in the way of business growth and by implication neither do the people that implement and operate them.

Ports can be dangerous, volatile and harsh working environments and it is fair comment to suggest that Port management teams require that all elements of the  business provide as much assistance as possible to ensure that they can apply a robust mitigation against this fact.

Adding value

As security professionals our remit is to deliver for our clients an integrated security system or distinct elements of such, which are not only capable of providing  designed functionality, as this should be a given, but it would surely prove advantageous to also provide extra value or additional services concurrent with a technology’s primary task.

An example of this is the use of access control systems by a business unit HR department for time and attendance control, which is both accepted as best practice  and well understood, especially within a Port area, which can be vast and disparate. However there are many more secondary uses for the technology used within a security system and we must constantly highlight these to our clients.

Another could utilise the CCTV system. By the time that it is successfully implemented and is operational we should have already begun to explore and evaluate  possible ancillary benefits of having such a system so that we can initiate the integration of these into the client’s normal working practices to good effect.

If we look at the monitoring of the facility we can see that CCTV operators are best positioned to spot incidents, although these may not always be strictly classified as security issues. Proper analysis of visual data collected and stored by a monitoring system can be made to be of great value to other port departments.

Health and Safety Departments may find it useful that potential hazards, such as repeated traffic accidents at the same location within a facility, are easier to identify, or that contraventions to a port’s H&S policy of wearing PPE at all times, particularly by visitors, can be more effectively policed.

Any mitigating measures consequently decided upon can be more effectively explained to stakeholders visually during any subsequent awareness education, as  pictures really do paint thousands of words. We could then use the same elements of the system to monitor and measure the effectiveness of any improvements.

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