CCTV monitoring: Why have it and how much does it cost?

Chris Coughlin, technical product manager – CCTV, intruder and monitoring for STANLEY Security explains the benefits of CCTV monitoring centres for your garden centre

There are a number of reasons why you might have CCTV installed on your premises, including as a crime deterrent and for crime prevention, to provide evidence after an event, for health and safety and to aid in business processes. Monitoring your CCTV system makes the best use of it.  Employing security guards to perform this function out of hours has been the traditional approach, but is expensive. So, what’s the alternative?

CCTV monitoring centres explained

Using a dedicated professional security monitoring centre provides you with the technology, experience and resources to monitor your CCTV when you need it, but remotely. 

Rather than having security guards sat in front of a video wall looking for potential issues on site, modern day CCTV monitoring is driven by schedules and alarms making it efficient and effective.

Alarms can be generated through a range of devices, including CCTV, but also from other security systems and even environmental devices to detect temperatures and flooding. Furthermore, many CCTV cameras come with in-built analytics that broaden the use of CCTV and there are also specific types of cameras that drive alarms, such as thermal, people counting and facial recognition.

You can also define schedules, where the monitoring centre will check a single or series of cameras (providing ‘remote guard tours’, which is a virtual version of a security guard patrol) at a pre-defined frequency, looking for anything out of the ordinary, such as vandalism, doors left open and equipment/stock left in wrong locations. 

An installer for STANLEY Security

Weighing up the costs

Manned guarding can cost anywhere between £11 – £15 an hour, with most companies requiring you to have a minimum of eight-hour shifts. This would cost you from £88 per day for an eight-hour shift, or £264 for 24 hours.

These costs mount up quickly. If you were to have a single security guard on duty overnight, doing eight-hour shifts, seven days a week, then you are looking at £32,032 per year minimum. If you then wanted to extend that coverage to include round the clock cover over the weekend, then the cost jumps to at least £50,336 per year. 

How does that compare to a third-party CCTV monitoring centre service?

There are two main types of monitoring service, which come at different costs:

  • A visually verified service, where all activity is driven by an external device, such as an intruder alarm, which can cost from £250 – £600 per year.
  • A camera activated service, costing anywhere from £600 to £3,000 per year.  The price is driven by the size of system, type of analytics used and volume of activations, hence the wide difference. 

As activities are either done on a schedule, or are driven by an alarm, you’re only paying for when there’s work being conducted, making it a very productive and cost-effective solution.

Delivering a response

One of the reasons many organisations continue to employ security guards on site is that they can respond swiftly to alarms and events. 

However, a more cost-effective approach is to combine the ‘audio challenge’ service supplied by remote monitoring stations with a third-party key holding and alarm response specialist service (which costs up to £100 a month). This solution allows you to literally ‘challenge’ an intruder as to why they are there. If the event needs to be escalated then the monitoring centre can either call the police if a criminal activity is being conducted or can alert a specialist security company to attend on your behalf. This gives you the best of both worlds: feet on ground when you really need them and only paying a fraction of the price of employing on site security guards.

Using a CCTV monitoring centre used to come at a high cost but in recent years has become more accessible and is now certainly a strong alternative to traditional manned guarding.  

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