CCTV or Guards?

James Gaskell (Business Development Manager) talks about CCTV and Security Guards.

A common response I get when I’m talking to new clients, or customer who has so far relied solely on technology supplying their security is “But I’ve already got CCTV, why do I need a dedicated officer?”.

From a cost point of view, it may seem like the choice to have CCTV is the clear one, especially if you’ve already invested in the hardware. However, if you dig a little bit deeper, it isn’t as cut and dry a choice as you might think. Let’s break it down


Synonymous with modern security solutions, the CCTV systems of today often include remote monitoring, meaning that there is a human response element that can be available as part of a CCTV package. The human element helps to reduce incidences of false alarms as remote surveillance officers will make a judgement call after reviewing the feeds when an alarm goes off.

The presence of CCTV can offer the following:

·       A visual deterrent to protect your premises;

·       Interactivity, with integrated audio systems for warning messages and alerts – Often an intruder will be scared from the scene if they know they are being observed

·       24 – 7 coverage;

·       Records of evidence in the event of prosecution

·       Flexibility of deployment

·       Links with alarm monitoring systems

Often seen as a restriction for the deployment of a new CCTV system can be the high upfront costs, and then the ongoing cost to maintain the systems at an operationally effective level.

However, finding a reputable CCTV company that might offer the right kind of credentials and technology to suit your requirement may also offer services and health checks for your CCTV systems.

No service is perfect, and whilst CCTV can offer some great services, it doesn’t offer complete peace of mind.

·       False alarms can be a significant factor, incurring charges from security providers and even resulting in warnings if emergency services are called out

·       CCTV is not as effective a visual deterrent as a physical guard

·       CCTV equipment in itself can be tempting to thieves and vandals

·       The equipment can be easily damaged or disabled

So what is the alternative?


Everyone has their own needs, each company we work with requires something unique.

Sometimes the personal touch for security is much more appropriate, particularly for businesses which require a front-of-house assistance role, such as serviced apartments or office spaces, where a dedicated officer is needed on-site and available, to answer questions or perform duties.

By combining the traditional front-of-house receptionist role with that of an SIA licenced security officer you can have the best of both worlds, with a significant ROI

Additionally, officers can respond to the issues that CCTV or remote surveillance aren’t able to notice or fix, such as utility, gas or chemical leaks, weather damage, fly-tipping in blind spots on larger sites or unlocked doors.

The benefit of having an officer on site extend to the officer being able to admit first aid or even restrain an attacked. Having dedicate security officers also brings the additional benefits of:

·       A highly effective visual deterrent

·       Fewer false alarms, as issues can be investigated on-site immediately;

·       Reduction of overall costs, by using officers in positions such as front-of-house, lowering headcount

·       On-site CCTV monitoring

·       Quicker response time to alarms as officer is on-site

·       Enhanced security, with first aid trained officers

So what do I choose?

It boils down to what do you need.

Used correctly, CCTV can be a great asset to the security of a business, however, it does not offer complete protection. A dedicated security officer may seem a high cost, however, it may be a requirement of your insurance for you to provide adequate site security. Additionally, CCTV cannot step in at whenever needed like a security officer can.

Instead of considering what you can afford to pay, consider instead what you could possibly lose from making the wrong investment in security. If there are significant valuables on your site, you may want to consider that your best security option may not be an either /or choice between officers or CCTV, but a merging of the two, creating a service that fits your individual needs.

If you’d like to talk to someone about the security set-up at your site or want to make a change in your arrangements, please come to Clear Watch Security, we can offer suggestions and make recommendations based on your needs and your budget.

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