Global Edition

 

Caught in the Act

8.30am 27th November 2006 - Management Topics

There are no easy pickings for thieves targeting the Kendleshire’s clubhouse or its members’ cars. Even if something does happen, security camera recordings give a clear view of faces and number plates, thanks to constant vigilance over vulnerable areas such as the car park, bars, the professional’s shop and the fruit machine. The recordings provide legally admissible evidence as well as serving as a deterrent to would-be troublemakers.
The Kendleshire, near Bristol, is one of the country’s most modern clubs, opening just eight years ago. It now has 27 holes plus a six-hole academy, and there are plans for a driving range, more holes and an expansion of the academy course. Security cameras were installed from the outset, but the original system was very basic. “We soon realised that the picture quality was absolutely abysmal,” says golf director Pat Murphy. Car registrations were illegible and faces couldn’t be made out. Furthermore, the recordings were on videotape and time was wasted searching the tape looking for the right clip.”

Getting the right cameras
Leading equipment manufacturer Dallmeier electronic happens to have its UK base just a few minutes from the club. Conversations with managing director James Walker opened Murphy’s eyes to the possibilities offered by a better system. “I went to Dallmeier’s offices to see a demonstration of the technology and had no hesitation in ordering it,” he says.
The first step was to replace the old videotape recorder with a Dallmeier hard-disc recorder, which stores a month’s images and is quick to search through. Unlike video, there is no downtime as the system is able to record even during playback.
Initially, the old cameras were retained but the club has now just completed installation of five advanced cameras from Dallmeier’s range. “If you haven’t got the right cameras you are wasting your time,” says Murphy. “Quality is the key to success, without a shadow of a doubt.”
The Kendleshire is very busy, with 40,000 rounds of golf played a year, more than 50 weddings, weekly functions and access for non-members. The footfall is of the order of 100,000 people a year, estimates Murphy. Cameras keep watch both indoors and out. There have been virtually no incidents since the upgrade was carried out, demonstrating their deterrent effect.

The Pro Shop is number one target
“In terms of our vulnerability as a business, the pro’s shop is the number one target,” says Murphy. Thieves would have no trouble in selling the clothes and clubs that dominate the valuable stock. The camera in the shop has already caught some thieves. Professional Tony Mealing noticed that two of a new range of putters were no longer on display – but his assistant said that no one had paid for them.
The recordings clearly showed that the two culprits had entered with a member. “We contacted him – he was shocked that his guests should do such a thing,” says Murphy. They were shown the recording and agreed to pay. “We couldn’t have done it without the system – it was a great application of how well it works.”
The two main bars are covered, primarily for the security of the club’s staff. “We did have problems with a member of staff who was getting drunk on duty,” says catering manager Philip Bragg. He had spoken to the person concerned on several occasions. “But I couldn’t actually prove it without the camera.”
Recording only takes place when movement is detected, saving the need to look through hours of recordings of empty rooms. There is also an in-built searching utility which will identify all movement in an area such as a till – which could be useful for clubs employing unknown agency staff, Bragg suggests.

Car park security
Golf clubs are also prime targets for car break-ins and the Kendleshire’s parking is one of the main focus areas for the Dallmeier system. All too many golfers put their laptops in the boot, in full view of anyone watching. The car park is now fully covered. “We get a picture of the number plate of every car coming in and out,” says Murphy.
The Dallmeier cameras can record in very low light levels but the club has external lighting that comes on when movement is triggered at night. For premises where external lighting is not feasible – for instance close to housing – then the cameras would operate in colour down to a certain light level before switching to black and white.
The next step at the Kendleshire will be to incorporate number plate recognition software to keep an automatic log of the registrations, cross-referenced to the membership database. It could even be set to display welcome messages for cars it recognises.
Average age of the 900 club members is 38, giving a completely different profile to many other clubs. Encouraging people into the game is a prime aim at the Kendleshire, which has an unusually high proportion of young players – providing further impetus for robust CCTV. “These days, security for the children is paramount,” says Murphy. “The cameras would help if there were an incident.”

Round the clock operation
The system is kept in the catering office and is operational around the clock recording to the Dallmeier 250Gb hard disc recorder (DLS 18 S1). Live and recorded images can be viewed on screen, controlled by a mouse. “It is very easy to use,” says Murphy. Passwords are allocated to staff as required and monitoring could, if required, be carried out remotely.
The recorder has a built-in CD writer, making it easy to create a disc for the police. A USB-port also enables data to be exported to other storage devices. Dallmeier’s system has been developed to ensure that no one can argue that a recording has been tampered with or that a CD isn’t a true copy. Watermarking and independent certification provide this reassurance. “The integrity wouldn’t be challenged in court,” assures Howe.
Once cameras are installed, they can also provide useful information such as visitor numbers or patterns of behaviour in a shop. Murphy thinks there may even be scope for using the system to record action on the proposed driving range. People could then review their performance online at home, in a similar fashion to the videos that are often supplied following lessons.
Dallmeier www.dallmeier-electronic.com
The Kendleshire www.kendleshire.com

       

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