Earls Barton family business welcomes Robocop-style crime-fighting automated guard

The £5,000 scheme is being funding by the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

By Alison Bagley
Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 3:10 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 3:31 pm

An Earls Barton farm shop and showground has welcomed a pair of robocop-style crime-busting monitors to keep thieves at bay and uphold the law.

Family-run Whites Nurseries, in Clay Lane, Earls Barton, has been loaned two video guards as part of the trial scheme after being the victims of a recent burglary.

The £5,000 scheme sees the VideoGuard 360 cameras, rented from security firm PID Systems by the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (OPFCC), being lent to rural businesses.

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(l-r) Stuart Watkins (PID Systems), Stephen Mold (PFCC), Eddie White (Whites Nurseries), Paul Fell (OPFCC) and Paul Golley (OPFCC) outside Whites Nurseries.

The trial is being funded by Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold.

Eddie White, a manager at Whites Nurseries, said: “We were contacted by the police after we had a break-in and were asked if we wanted to take part in the trial.

“They seem to be doing a good job so far and it’s a lot better for us that the place is being monitored 24/7 as it’s allowing us to continue trading without having to worry about watching over the place all the time.”

The machines boast three HD cameras and give out warning messages against committing criminal behaviour should a sensor be triggered.

Stephen Mold (PFCC)

They are also fully mobile, meaning they can be placed in any area that could be determined vulnerable.

Footage captured by the VideoGuard 360, should it be triggered, is then sent to a PID Systems (Perimeter Intrusion Detection) control room where staff will assess the footage and see if it’s a genuine security threat.

If this is deemed the case then PID Systems will liaise with the Northamptonshire Police control room, who will designate it as an emergency incident.

As well as setting aside £5,000 to rent the VideoGuard 360s for affected businesses, the OPFCC will also pay for signs warning potential criminals that their every step is now being watched where the cameras are in place.

One of the early beneficiaries of the trial scheme is Whites Nurseries in Earls Barton, which Mr Mold visited recently to see the new equipment in action.

Mr Mold said: “We’re delighted to be working with PID and using their VideoGuard 360 to act as a deterrent against criminal behaviour. If anyone goes near it then it will inform the police and it will act as a powerful tool in helping us to prevent crime, which is a major priority for us.

“It also marks our continued investment in making rural areas even safer. Northamptonshire is a largely rural county and we want to make sure that businesses in rural areas are given as much help as they can be to remain safe and successful.”

Members of the Crime Prevention Team at Northamptonshire Police will identify locations and businesses that could be vulnerable to rural crime, and will then seek sign off from the OPFCC to trial the equipment on a four-week basis – giving firms time to ensure they can implement appropriate security measures at their business for once the trial has ended.