Axis Communications and partner Thorne Access & Security have helped Burnley Football Club to upgrade its in-ground security systems, transitioning it from an analogue configuration to hybrid IP and CCTV HDTV set up.
Home stadium, Turf Moor, has a capacity of 21,500 and enjoys average gates of over 19,000, with up to 4,000 of these being allocated to away supporters on match days. With the team’s promotion to the Barclays Premier League, a multi-million pound facilities and IT upgrade was specified, which included funds for the upgrade of the analogue-based CCTV system. Following a tender process the contract for installation and management of the new video surveillance system was handed to Axis partner, Thorne Access & Security in early July 2014.
Thorne Access & Security specified a hybrid IP and CCTV system using Axis network cameras and Mirasys hybrid NVR system. The new in-ground safety system focused on tightening security in two core areas – at the entry turnstiles and inside the ‘bowl’ of the stadium itself. A combination of Q6045-E PTZ Dome Cameras and Q1765-LE Network Cameras were deployed inside the stadium bowl, while 14 legacy analogue cameras were retained to cover concourses in the new hybrid CCTV and IP video system. A total of 64 new cameras were installed covering the stadium, turnstiles, and concourses outside the bowl and behind the East Stand. The new system also provided total coverage of all 40 turnstiles through which thousands of fans pass through on match days.
Atul Rajput, regional director, northern Europe at Axis Communications said: “This installation has been a fantastic project for Axis and a wonderful opportunity for us to demonstrate what our technology is capable of in potentially risky, public environments. Axis cameras were chosen for this installation because of their ability to deliver razor-sharp images using 18x optical zoom capability. This is very important when you are siting cameras at opposite ends of a pitch over 120 metres away! Even at those distances, our cameras can provide evidential quality images to positively identify individuals and help the club’s ground safety team spot issues before they escalate.”
The use of pyrotechnics inside football club stadia has been a dangerous new trend in UK grounds over the last twelve months. The new cameras enable operators to spot unusual behaviours, such as looking down to light a firework or smoke bomb and enables the grounds safety team to clearly identify who ignited it. The same is true of people throwing objects onto the pitch, towards players or linesmen.
Doug Metcalfe, stadium & operations manager at Burnley Football Club, said: “The new Axis IP Video system gives our ground safety team, working in concert with Lancashire Constabulary, the ability to remove wrongdoers from the crowd before they endanger other football fans or commit public order offences. The police have already been able to secure several convictions based on positive identification of individuals committing acts that placed others in danger. Thankfully, these occurrences are rare and the deterrent effect of the new system will make them rarer still here at Turf Moor.”
Cameras trained on each turnstile capture images of fans passing through the gates, while a new electronic ticketing system identifies ticket types. Those thought to be using the wrong ticket can then be tracked and positively identified via the new cameras. This additional layer of surveillance has reduced ticket fraud significantly with adults trying to enter the ground with concession or child tickets easily identified and stopped.
In conjunction with Axis cameras, the new system employs a Mirasys hybrid NVR, operating on three 10TB capacity servers, to record, manage and enable rapid distribution of video recordings in case of incidents. Mirasys Spotter and Media Exporter software are used to recover and export relevant recorded images to DVD if the police need to take further action to prosecute an individual. A total of 3TB of video data is collected by the system each match day.