Jul 1 2011 by Lisa Boyle, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
Alarms and CCTV are a life saver
MORE than 5000 vulnerable people still have their independent lifestyle thanks to a simple but amazing system.
South Ayrshire Telecare alarms can be fitted almost anywhere in someone’s house.
Some people even have a sensor on their fridge handle.
So when a lady who normally makes 11 cups of tea a day doesn’t open it to take out milk for several hours, then telecare operators will be alerted and give her a call, phone her emergency contact or phone one of the council’s mobile attendants to pop in and make sure she is ok.
And several sufferers of Alzheimer’s have the sensors fitted to their front and back doors. It means that telecare operators are immediately alerted if they are opened through the night.
As well as monitoring the 5290 safe care alarms from the monitoring station in Ayr, operators also take care of the 85 domestic abuse and antisocial behaviour alarms throughout South Ayrshire.
The system helps people feel safe and secure in their homes as well as giving family peace of mind.
The weather can have a strong impact on the demand for the team’s services – for example, in last year’s bad winter weather, carers used the service to alert their clients when they would be delayed due to travel difficulties, and the team kept the clients informed of progress.
And just across the room from the telecare operators in the SAMS (South Ayrshire Monitoring Service) centre are monitors showing the view from the 105 CCTV cameras in the county.
If you take a wander around South Ayrshire, the chances are your image will be captured on any of the cameras.
A minority see the recording equipment as an invasion of privacy.
But there is no doubt that the cameras are worth their weight in gold when it comes to detecting and even preventing crime.
Last year, 1309 CCTV incidents assisted in the detection of crime and antisocial behaviour.
That’s not to mention the number of lost children who have been reunited with their frantic mothers thanks to the CCTV.
Nineteen operators monitor the 105 public space CCTV cameras, nine dial-up sites (schools, activity centres etc) and four re-deployable cameras (which can be attached to lampposts to focus on problem areas at particular times).
Since the service started in 1999, cameras and equipment have constantly been improved and expanded.
Staff have signed the Official Secrets Act and are licensed by the Security Industry Authority as well as disclosure checked.
The council has a network of public space live CCTV cameras installed in Ayr, Troon, Prestwick, Girvan and Maybole.
Operators are either alerted to incidents by the police or may even pick up on something themselves and decide it is worth monitoring.
The police are then alerted using the direct radio link to their control room.
This could be anything from an ongoing housebreaking to someone urinating in the street, a person dealing drugs to someone being physically assaulted.
The centre is also connected to the RadioLink system used by shops so that they can monitor crimes or offences carried out in shopping areas.
At night, the service increases public safety by monitoring hotspots around clubs and pubs, particularly on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Councillor Douglas Campbell, portfolio holder with responsibility for SAMS, said: “SAMS continues to be a centre of excellence.
“The employees provide numerous essential services to the community, particularly those who are vulnerable.
“The monitoring station aims to help people live in a safe and secure environment by helping people to live safely in their own homes and by assisting in the detection of crime and antisocial behaviour.
“This service is provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.”