DIGNITY & SAFEGUARDING Safe And Secure Neil Ricketts, Technical Services Director at Trigion Security Services, explains how cost-

effective electronic security solutions can help to safeguard residents of care establishments, whilst protecting their dignity at the same time.

Getting the security right in the care sector can be difficult. The first priority must be the wellbeing of the residents, so premises can’t appear like Fort Knox; these are people’s homes aſter all. However, there is also a need to keep people out of (or in) certain areas to protect residents, staff and visitors alike. There will be times when rapid access is required as well, such as in the case of a medical emergency, so things shouldn’t be locked up too tight.

Electronic security systems – once the exclusive preserve of high value or particularly high-risk properties – are now much more accessible to all. Domestic customers can now monitor their homes from anywhere in the world with just a small camera and a smart phone; however, the requirements to protect dignity as well as people and property in care settings mean a more professional approach is needed there.

The development of remote security operations centres, such as ours, has been a significant boost. These centres mean security can be improved dramatically, but unobtrusively, so that it doesn’t impact on day-to-day life. Remote security means monitoring and interaction can take place 24 hours a day, seven days a week; offering peace of mind, without breaking the bank.

WHAT IT SAYS ON THE TIN Access control, both to and within, a care environment is a central part of maintaining security. It means no unauthorised people get in, and no one goes where they shouldn’t.

Swipe cards are a popular and straightforward option. They are a classic case of ‘doing what it says on the tin.’ Each authorised user swipes their card in a reader to gain access as required. The downside is having to have a hand free to do the swiping, which oſten won’t be the case.

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A hands-free proximity card may be more useful in care settings as the contactless smart card is read without having to insert it into a reader – especially helpful if a worker is helping a resident through a doorway, for instance.

Importantly, the cards allow the users’ locations to be monitored, which means

there is a record of when residents are visited and by whom. This function can also help protect the worker themselves by showing where they were at specified times. Both types of cards can be enhanced with extra security options such as barcode reading technology and photographic identification.

Sometimes it might be appropriate to grant access remotely. This could be in the event of an emergency or for the first people arriving in the morning or last to leave at night. For the most vulnerable settings, higher levels of security can be achieved through the use of biometric solutions such as fingerprint readers, retinal eye scanners and hand geometry.


SPY IN THE SKY CCTV in care homes is a potentially sensitive issue. There are many security advantages to having a system installed, but also concerns about protecting residents’ dignity. Therefore, it would normally only be fitted in communal areas. To address any anxieties, it is important that the CCTV Data Protection Act is complied with, and that commissioning staff are licensed assessors. All systems must also be fitted according to SSAIB and NSI standards.

New proactive CCTV systems are no longer used to simply review incidents. Instead preventative action can be taken. Staff monitoring the site remotely can trigger sound and visuals to make contact. This real-time interaction is a highly effective way of preventing unwanted activity or raising an alarm where necessary.

Investing in the right security systems – and working with a company that offers remote monitoring – means that residents can be kept safe without any threat to their dignity.

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