Hands on the Cash

IP video surveillance helps protect cash-handling services

In the autumn of 2009, there was a very special “guest” at the National Museum in Copenhagen. Naturally, security was a top priority for the museum, but it was especially important for the world’s largest gold coin, which weighed 220 pounds and had a value of $2.9 million to $3.2 million. The museum entrusted this responsibility to Loomis, an international company that manages the transport of money and other valuables for customers in Europe and the United States. Loomis kept the valuable item under observation during its entire exhibition and ensured its secure transport and safekeeping.

This was an unusual job for Loomis Denmark, which is a subsidiary of the Swedish-owned Loomis AB. Traditionally, the company manages cash handling and transports of all kinds of assets, including currency, checks, securities and similar documentations, and data tapes or CDs. It is a business that demands a critical focus on security and safety -- in relation to both customers and employees. Loomis Denmark fulfills these requirements for transparency and documentation in cash handling with the help of IP video surveillance technology.

“For us, security has the highest priority, for obvious reasons,” said Tom Andersen, risk manager at Loomis. “Our customers’ livelihoods are literally in our hands when we carry out our work, so it is therefore vital that there is a strong relationship of trust. And this relates not only to our customers but also just as importantly to our employees, who handle all the assets on a daily basis.”

Loomis uses a number of security measures, and video surveillance plays a big role. Every day more than 100 cameras in the Glostrup location and a similar number in the city of Brabrand help to ensure that all procedures and security processes are being upheld. Thus, Loomis makes sure that every instance of cash handling is documented so that any irregularity can quickly be resolved.

The surveillance technology is based on Milestone Systems’ open-platform IP video management software, XProtect Corporate, with network cameras from Axis and IQinVision. With just a few clicks, operators can control different cameras at the same time and view the live or archived video from any location. Loomis monitors all the entrances and exits, cash-handling areas, and receiving and deliveries, in addition to the outer perimeters of their premises.

Analog Outdated; IP Open Platform Future-Proof
April 1, 2008, is a day that Loomis will never forget. That morning at 3:32, the police received a robbery alarm from Loomis: A group of men had busted into the cash-handling company’s building by breaking a hole through the wall with a telescope laser, and they managed to get away with kr62 million ($11 million). It was the biggest robbery in the history of Denmark despite all of the security measures the company had in place at that time. Loomis immediately went to work reviewing all its procedures and systems to improve security even more.

“Of course the robbery sharpened our focus on security,” Andersen said. “Our business always has to live with the risk of robberies, but we can always make it more and more difficult for any attempts by dividing our security elements and defenses into different levels that hinder and delay any criminal efforts so much that the police can manage to arrive and deal with it. One of our important components is the video surveillance, which is also a fantastic tool for the police to use as evidence in their work.”

Andersen added that Loomis makes changes to its security procedures all the time. When the robbery occurred, Loomis had operations at night for cash counting, among other things, so there were employees present at the time of the incident.

Today, Loomis operates during the day only. Another part of the increased defense of the building includes new alarms that have been installed to warn when anyone is even getting near the building from the outside.

Loomis had an outdated analog system, so after a thorough review of its security needs in collaboration with SmartGuard, a certified Milestone partner, it became clear that the open-platform IP video solution from Milestone Systems provided all of the right options.

“We needed IP video software that first and foremost secures all of the valuables that Loomis handles daily, and it also protects the staff in their jobs, since each count is documented with the surveillance at every moment,” said Casper Wilken, a partner at SmartGuard and installer of the video surveillance system. “And the fact that XProtect Corporate is designed as an open platform means it can integrate with other systems, even as new innovations come along. This makes the solution very flexible.”

Transparency and Documentation for Integrity
Of the 96 employees in Loomis Denmark, about 60 work in the Glostrup location west of Copenhagen, including administrative staff, drivers and the staff who daily handle the cash and other assets that are delivered.

When an employee is hired, he or she must go through a series of security procedures such as credit and police arrest record checks.

Yet even though Loomis takes all these precautions, it is still necessary to have an extra guarantee of accountability, which the video surveillance ensures.

Today there are many cameras in the work stations, and the zoom functions in the system, combined with the megapixel cameras from IQinVision, deliver sharp images of money bags being opened by a person, while the money-counting is monitored from different angles.

All the video information can be compared with customers’ records so any eventual differences can be revealed and resolved. This saves time and provides thorough documentation and integrity for the asset management process.

Should there be any differences between what the customers claim and the amounts Loomis counts, it is quick and easy with Milestone to find the relevant video of the bags being opened and the actual counting -- thus documenting that everything has been carried out properly.

“With the video surveillance, we can document that we do our work properly, and this strengthens our objective role in relation to our customers,” Andersen said. “And the video also helps us ensure things for our employees. Should anything questionable come up regarding our staff, we can immediately go back in the recorded video and see that the employee handled the task correctly.”

Naturally, there are procedures for the setup of all the cameras, ensuring they are located where they should be and are not damaged or moved around.

Loomis also is automatically warned with an alarm if a server goes down or if other errors in the system arise.

“We wanted a solution that included a series of very useful functions, such as an intelligent searching that makes it possible to scan a particular money bag, click on the exact date and time for the scanning and quickly search the surveillance video to view it,” Andersen said. “In addition, with the Milestone SmartSearch function, we can look for an object that’s disappeared simply by marking it in the images.

“The video monitoring makes it possible for us to live up to our promise of transparency and documentation for our customers. And the Milestone open-IP platform also allows us to integrate the system with other innovative solutions over time. This creates a high level of flexibility and is just one of the ways in which we have future-proofed our business.”

This article originally appeared in the March 2011 issue of Security Today.

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