Sovereign Fire and Security has released a room observation system (ROS) to promote the welfare of vulnerable people in secure hospitals, mental health units, immigration centres and any kind of detention facility. The product will oversee duty of care and protect staff from spurious claims of mistreating or neglecting inmates.
The ROS consists of a camera mounted inside the secure room paired with an Audio Visual Unit (AVU) installed outside the monitored area. Viewing and operation of the AVU is only possible for authorised users with valid electronic access control (EACS) credentials.
The system allows contact with the occupant under controlled conditions and removes the need for manual record-keeping since all actions taking place at the AVU are logged automatically so creating an audit-trail. This not only saves time during a night shift when occupants can be observed without risk by a single member of staff but also frees up their time to focus on core duties.
The ROS was originally designed in response to cases in police custody where incomplete or even falsified observation records came to light in death-in-custody tragedies. It became apparent that a system that can minimise the opportunity for human error in the protection of vulnerable people was equally appropriate in many other facilities apart from custodial environments.
The access control log in the AVU unit automatically creates an audit trail of when a room occupant is checked on, for how long and by whom. It also allows restriction of who can observe the room. These digital log records cannot be compromised and the powerful record of interaction helps protect the room occupant as well the personnel and institution whether it be during audits or as part of continuing improvement procedures.
PSI caught up with Neil Clements, a director of Sovereign Fire & Security, to find out more about the system which took three years to bring to market.
Was the product conceived as a result of customer request or a lack of suitable technology?
Both. An existing client had a requirement/brief of what they wanted (ideally) but there was no product on the market to tick the boxes. There are no standards specific to this product sector so the specification came from agreed best practice, end-user experiences and operational wish-lists.
Which camera do you use with the system?
The camera is a discreet corner-mounted unit with integrated infrared illuminators. The camera was designed to present zero risk to the room occupant in terms of making a ligature or other forms of self-harm. Crucially, it delivers 100% room coverage with a specialised lens. The camera is also fitted with an extremely sensitive audio system that can pick up life signs from the room occupant even when they are asleep.
How easy is the unit to install?
The installation as well as service and maintenance had to be really simple. Some of the environments where these systems are installed are occupied by very vulnerable people and it is not practical to have engineers on site for prolonged periods. While we shy away from the over-used cliché of ‘plug and play’ we had to consider installation and service from day one of the design process and have met this challenge fully.
Find out more in the July 2016 edition of PSI magazine