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Crisis Management – How Command and Control software can help

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Our world is a dangerous place. There have been over 5,000 terrorist related incidents in the UK alone in the last 40 years, resulting in the deaths of over 3,000 people. While the number of terrorist incidents has decreased in recent years thanks to the excellent, persevering work of anti-terrorism police, it remains a real threat. The reality is that a major incident could happen any day.

As with most security events, there are two critical stages: How can a control room help prevent the incident from happening in the first place, and the second is how do we deal with it once it is underway. Recent terrorist incidents in the UK have shown us that there is a need for immediately recognising what is going on and having a firm plan in place to act to save lives. There are many facets to this, the most key of which is accessing vital information instantly.

Merlin, by Initsys, is a Command and Control software traditionally aimed at the security industry to deal with events within a single platform. These can include CCTV, traditional alarms, door access, fire detection, and PA. Over the years, Merlin has been tailored not only to work reactively but proactively, helping to look for threats and present data to operators immediately when it recognises that an incident might be imminent. An excellent example of this would be object detection through CCTV, the ability to recognise when an item has been abandoned or even something as simple as recognising when an area becomes crowded before or after a concert.

Of course, not all events can be detected using technology. We must give staff the ability to raise concerns or manually trigger an event that, from the control room’s point of view, is handled no differently to how it might have been had it been started by CCTV. Through Merlin, touch screen terminals or hand-held device apps can trigger events via custom-designed templates that send a signal to the control room. Using Merlin’s innovative “Rules Engine,” the operators can be told exactly how to react. For example, how might a control room operator respond to a radio report that someone is asking suspiciously? There may even be a risk that the suspicious individual will hear the information being radioed back to the control room. By raising the concern conspicuously through an app or terminal, the operator can follow a process that has been meticulously planned alongside the police, removing that element of “what now?”.

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