Check List

U.P.S
Uninterruptable Power Supplies have an internal battery, make sure this is check annually.


Monitor
It is very easy to rely upon and ignore your CCTV system if nothing is happening. Check and monitor it regularly, check each camera, and make sure each camera is focused correctly.


Dirt
Dirt, dirty rain, spider webs can all cause issues with camera lenses and covers, and contrast issues at night, make sure they are clean!

 

Annual Service
Our annual service is there for a reason, to check cables, clean and refocus lenses if needed, check power supplies, battery backups and your UPS. We’ll also maintain your DVR / NVR and alert you if we suspect any imminent failure such as a hard drive.

Evidence Retrieval / Backup / Recovery

Evidence Retrieval / Backup / Recovery

We can solely or jointly with the PSNI offer an evidence retrieval service. We can also offer to backup your complete system for you by many backup methods available, be it a USB external Hard Drive, SD Card, DVD’s etc. We can also offer a system recovery / restore service. If your DVR / NVR has crashed or has problems, we can assist in a full system recovery or system restore. Our present customers have a 24 Hour / 365 day call out. A nominal charge will be made for CCTV systems that haven't been installed by ourselves, or are out of warranty or maintence contract.

 

For evidence retrieval we follow a simple system, often used by the PSNI / Police when obtaining evidence from a DVR / NVR CCTV System.

Notes should be kept, detailing everything that takes place, to provide an audit trail. “The police state that 80% of CCTV evidence is inadmissible in court. Causes of such failures include inadequate documentation, lack of audit trail and incorrect recording of evidence.”

Make, model, serial number is taken of the CCTV system, plus the number of cameras.

System Settings, sometimes settings have to be altered in order to remove or record evidence from a particular time period, we always make sure everything is returned back to the way it was.

Timeline checks – compare the time displayed by the CCTV system with that given by the speaking clock. Any error between the system time and real time should be recorded in the audit trail and compensated for when conducting the retrieval. This will ensure that the correct section of data
is copied.

Determine which camera views are required, and whether they can be retrieved separately. It is good practice to draw a plan of the camera views to facilitate further decision making processes. Depending on the nature of the incident, there might, for example, be a requirement to retrieve all cameras with external views. Some systems permit video from individual cameras to be downloaded, but some do not, in which case data from all cameras will need to be taken. The decision taken and the reasons for it should be documented in the audit trail.

Replay Data. Check that the requested video exists on the system.

(h) Check storage / overwrite time – to determine how long the relevant data will be retained on the system. This is particularly important if the retrieval cannot be carried out immediately, or needs to be prioritised against other tasks. A maximum time period can then be determined within which the retrieval must be carried out before data is lost.

(i) Obtain system password, if necessary. Be aware that the standard user password may provide only limited functionality and an administrator password may be necessary in order to enable data retrieval.

(j) The recording should not be stopped during the retrieval process unless
(i) this is an unavoidable feature of the system or
(ii) there is an immediate risk that important data will be overwritten before it can be retrieved.
(k) Protect data. Some systems allow write-protecting a selected video sequence to prevent it from being overwritten before it can be retrieved; however, it should not be assumed that this facility will be present.

Confirm that the data can be retrieved in its native file format. It is preferable to extract the CCTV sequence in its native format in order to maintain image quality and provide best evidence, even where this file format is proprietary to the CCTV manufacturer. Some systems may provide an option to write the sequence to AVI file, which may seem to be an advantage in that the video will be replayable using standard software; however the generation of the AVI file often requires the video
to be recompressed, resulting in a loss of quality, and so this method should be avoided. Metadata such as time and date information may also be lost, along with any stored bookmarks. (Note that when copying data files manually via Windows Explorer, the metadata and index files may be stored in a separate directory to the video files.)

(n) Confirm success of retrieval. The retrieved data should be checked before leaving the scene (or immediately on returning to the lab) to confirm that (i) the retrieval process was successful and (ii) that any associated replay software functions correctly. This check should be done on a machine other than the original recorder to ensure that replay is not device specific.

(o) Restart the CCTV system (if necessary). Ensure that video is being recorded onto the system as well as being displayed as a live view. Confirm in the presence of the owner/operator that it is operating as it was originally and obtain a signature.

(p) Complete evidence sheet. The following information should be included with the evidence to assist the investigator with subsequent replay and analysis:
• Make and model (important when trying to identify suitable replay software or hardware)
• Error in display time and date
• Time period covered by download
• Map of camera locations and coverage
• Include replay software if available

(q) Media handling. Media should be packaged to minimise the likelihood of damage in transit. CDs and DVDs should be kept in individual cases rather than on a spindle, flash cards should be stored in their original protective packaging and particular care should be taken to protect hard drives removed from systems. These should preferably be stored in individual boxes with foam inserts. All evidence should be bagged and labelled according to established procedures, and the label on the box should contain sufficient information to link it to the evidence sheet that contains the full details. Also, if there are multiple discs, the labels should identify the correct order for replay.