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Security: Don’t skip out access control this year

Waste and recycling centres play host to a number of valuable materials, whether it be people’s personal possessions that they trust to be destroyed of securely or valuable on-site equipment and machinery belonging to the premises. With opportunistic crime, such as metal theft, an ever-present threat in the United Kingdom, it is absolutely essential that effective security steps are taken to protect our skip hire and waste management centres. Here, James Kelly, Chairman of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), looks at the benefits of installing access control measures.

What is access control?

Access control systems are a crucial element to any site’s security plan, providing the ability to control, monitor and restrict the movement of people, assets or vehicles in, out and round an area. This is especially important for waste and recycling centres, where the premises experiences a constant flow of people – mainly the general public – throughout the day. As such, it is crucial for centres to restrict specific areas of a premises – such as where valuable equipment is kept – to authorised personnel only, as well as securing the entire premises outside of working hours. Access control systems can help achieve this essential level of security.

Generally, such systems are composed of three main components, the first of which is the physical barrier such as a gate, car park barrier or rising kerb. The second key component is the identification device, which can be in the form of a proximity card, smart card or swipe card and subsequent readers, or even PIN pads and other biometric devices such as fingerprint and iris scanning. At the heart of access control systems is the third component, the barrier controller and its subsequent software. The versatility of barrier controller systems means that they can be incorporated into premises of varying sizes, whether they make use of just one stand-alone barrier controller linked to a single barrier, a number of barrier controllers all linked together to a single PC in order to control one site or even a number of different sites all interlinked together over a wide network area. As such, waste and recycling centres can restrict specific areas of the site by protecting it with some form of barrier and only granting personnel the specific permissions and identification devices to access it.

The benefits of integration

Access control systems can be especially effective when integrated with other security measures in place, such as CCTV systems. One key benefit of this type of integration is the pre and post event recordings that are initiated by the access control system. For example, the video will roll every time someone accesses or attempts to breach an area using the barrier controller. Such video recordings can then be linked with event information, making searching for a particular event a more streamlined process. For example, if an intruder has attempted to repeatedly breach an access controlled area, operators – whether they are based on the premises or in an external monitoring centre – are able to search for it on the recordings and respond accordingly.

The barriers can also be helpfully integrated with alarm systems; if a barrier is forcefully opened without the proper identification device, an alarm will sound and notify personnel to the breach. A professionally designed, installed, maintained and monitored intruder system can be effectively linked to an approved alarm receiving centre, which generally links to the police, offering a high level of protection against undetected intrusions, subsequently limiting the time available to criminals to inflict loss or damage. Integrating alarm systems with CCTV measures can add an even more robust layer to the site’s security, providing personnel with on-site images as the breach occurs.

From a business point of view, access control systems can also provide other added value benefits. For example, the identification technology can be integrated with time and attendance systems in order to record employee hours. If appropriate, these can be processed against working hours, working in real time in order to feed transactions through to a company’s payroll. This not only helps maintain a more precise payroll, but can also accurately help keep employers on the correct side of the European Working Time regulations, along with managing holidays and absences effectively.

Quality and maintenance

While having access control systems in place is hugely important for any premises, it is also important that these measures – and other security measures in place – are regularly reviewed and updated in order to meet with the changing requirements of the site and of society itself. Security strategies, policies and measures should not just be reviewed in light of rising crimes, they should be reviewed all the time.

That being said, when selecting or updating access control measures, it is absolutely essential that businesses are sourcing their products from a reliable supplier that meets with the essential British and European standards for its sector. Choosing a supplier based on reputation and quality standards, no just cost alone, is crucial in achieving effective security solutions. Members of the BSIA’s Access Control Section are inspected to high quality standards and offer their reputable services to a wide range of industries. To find out more visit.