Vision UK’s on-vehicle CCTV solutions offer protection and security

With illegal immigrants trying to enter the UK through the Channel ports continuing to be headline news following a summer of turmoil, Vision UK has seen a surge of enquiries from hauliers looking to use CCTV to prevent ‘clandestine entrants’ stowing away on their vehicles.

The Home Office and Border Force Guidelines squarely put the responsibility of preventing stowaways on the haulier and driver – as the introduction to the Guidelines on their website spells out “How road transport companies and their drivers must secure their vehicles to stop people using them to enter the UK illegally and to avoid being fined.”

With fines running at £2,000 per illegal stowaway, the risk of the vehicle and load being impounded, and the potential costs and disruption of defending a prosecution – the consequence of being caught with an illegal stowaway is significant.

Even for those drivers who diligently follow the guidelines it can be very difficult for the driver to check every aspect of the vehicle for a stowaway.  There are safety considerations in having to climb onto a roof and getting inside the load area to check every nook and cranny – and as the driver is often a sole workers a risk assessment may prevent them from carrying out some of these checks on Health and Safety grounds.

An obvious solution to this is to use a CCTV system as cameras can be used to view areas that the driver cannot easily and safely check themselves.  Furthermore, if the driver can see a stowaway on the cameras, they do not need to perform a manual search and thereby do not put themselves at risk of assault.  It is perhaps a bit surprising that CCTV is not more widely used on vehicles that are regularly crossing the Channel.

A really good camera for use in these situations is the Vision DN-10 camera.  This is a surface mount camera that has night vision LEDs, is fully waterproof and is only 22mm high so can be discreetly mounted without being easily knocked off, damaged or tampered with.  This versatile camera can be mounted externally or internally…. on the roof, walls or under the floor.

A typical installation for monitoring the vehicle for detection of stowaways would consist of four cameras.  One camera mounted externally on top of the roof, two cameras inside the body – typically mounted on the underside of the roof looking down into the load area – and one underneath the body looking for anyone hanging onto the chassis.

For rigid commercial vehicles Vision UK would suggest fitting its M-725Q touch screen monitor in the cab.  This will normally show the four cameras in a quad window format but the driver can select a full screen image from any camera by pressing the screen.  In addition to the security cameras we would also recommend integrating a reverse camera into the system for additional safety (for little added cost this offers a significant safety benefits).

Where there is an existing reversing camera system Vision UK would make use of the existing monitor and supply its Quadplexer module to interface between the cameras and monitor.  Triggers are provided so that it can connect a switch to allow the driver to still select individual cameras if required.

For an articulated vehicle Vision UK would also use the Quadplexer – but fitted in the trailer – and connect this to an in-cab monitor through a Shortwave Microwave link or hardwired susi lead.

For additional security Vision UK can provide the same capability as described above but integrated with a DVR so that the video feed is continuously recorded.  Recording onto an HDD this system can record hundreds of hours of video before the oldest footage is overwritten.

A DVR offers a number of additional benefits.  If the vehicle has been left unattended or is being loaded for example, the driver can review the footage to check that no one has got into the vehicle whilst they have not been present or have been distracted doing other things.

Although in the vast majority of cases the driver will be the victim, there will always be some drivers who are willing to take the chance of illegally bringing immigrants into the country for financial gain.  By recording the video footage the haulier is deterring drivers from considering this path and, should there be suspicion that a driver is doing something untoward, they can review the recorded footage to look for suspicious behaviour.

The Vision DVR systems can also be connected to movement detection sensors (or door, or temperature sensors) that will alert the driver and record a video file associated with the alert so that events can be easily and quickly investigated.

As an aside, a completely separate benefit of recording the video in the load area is that the video footage can be used to monitor the loading and unloading procedures.  This helps ensure that the driver and other staff are following safe working practices and using the correct manual handling equipment – and also can identify training requirements – manual handling injuries / damage to goods through mishandling have become quite significant costs for some hauliers.

For those hauliers who want to offer the maximum protection to their drivers and vehicles the Vision DVR system can be equipped with live view capability that allows the Transport Office to monitor the vehicle remotely.

If a vehicle is parked up and unattended the Transport Office can keep a watch on the vehicle.  If, for example, movement detection sensors are fitted and they detect movement the DVR can automatically send an alarm and live video feed to the Transport Office.  They are then immediately alerted to a potential issue and can see what is happening in real time on the vehicle.  If a stowaway is spotted they can then call the Police to deal with the situation without the driver ever needing to be put at risk.

As we mentioned previously, drivers are often lone workers and if they are climbing around the vehicle they are at a risk of slipping or tripping and debilitating themselves without having anyone knowing.  Furthermore, if the driver does find stowaways and is assaulted, there may be no one there to assist or raise an alarm.

But with live view the Transport Office can be watching the driver whilst they are doing their vehicle check and if something untoward happens can immediately organise assistance for the driver.

To conclude, this article identifies that there are a range of CCTV solutions available to hauliers that will help them protect themselves and their drivers against the consequences of having unwanted stowaways on their vehicles.  Furthermore all the systems discussed can be easily expanded to provide additional functionality such providing 360-degree view vision around the vehicles and a comprehensive accident recording capability – systems that are proven to reduce accidents and reduce insurance costs.

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