The role of pre-employment integrity testing in reducing staff turnover

Photography by Jeremy Glyn for AI Surveilance in October 2020.

Successful offsite CCTV surveillance companies recognise that even the most advanced technology is only as good as the people who monitor, control and make the decisions in the control room. 

Hiring security personnel quickly can probably be easy but it could cost more than it’s worth in the end. Finding people who could potentially thrive in a secure offsite control room environment is a different and much more complex exercise. 

Luckily there is sufficient industry experience to prove that the best controllers are grown internally by careful selection and by focusing on specific skill sets and  positive, well communicated company values. 

Good advice for the security industry comes from Warren Buffet who famously said, “If you’re looking to hire new people, look for three qualities—integrity, intelligence and energy. If you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.”

Polygraph testing of employees is a contenious option and probably not the best way to find employees with integrity. It simply looks for potential dishonesty and ignoring the fact that the trait of integrity is different to mere honesty.

A valuable alternative is pre-employment integrity testing. It was developed in the US when lie detectors were prohibited and has been popular in other countries for more than three decades. In South Africa, the demand for pre-employment integrity testing for employees has grown. 

An integrity test is a reliable and non-confrontational method to test the ethics of potential employees. As it involves background investigations, qualification and education verification, police clearance and credit checks, it does not only provide a much clearer picture of the personality and personal values of the potential employee, it also measures the suitability of the candidate for the position.

When a potential employee knows that their integrity is tested and validated it becomes a positive experience that creates a greater awareness of expected values and behaviours within the company. It also establishes a platform for transparency, accountability and fairness that can reduce staff turnover, improve productivity and create a culture where all staff feel safe and valued. 

Once you have established that you have the right talent, extensive and ongoing internal training will ensure that controllers are as skilled and reliable as the technology is advanced. Crime awareness and detection are critical success factors and we place tremendous value on in situ control room training to ensure a common understanding of requirements and behaviours and to build a team with a common purpose: successful outcomes, reduced crime and an improved company reputation. 

Whilst AI Surveillance (AIS) is a proud market leader in the South African security industry offering cutting-edge technology, we are relentless when it comes to staff training. We know that our people have to make many difficult decisions under pressure every day with the knowledge that each decision could have potentially life changing results.

Outsourcing your cctv monitoring service is the smart choice

Photography by Jeremy Glyn for AI Surveilance in October 2020.

If you’re thinking of establishing an in-house security team as an effective cost cutting exercise… don’t. And here are the 4 good reasons why:

  1. CCTV monitoring services are most robust when driven by offsite surveillance specialists with the required infrastructure, expertise and state-of-the-art technology.
  2. Substantial in-house resources are needed to guarantee the safety and security of people and assets. They are often limited by shrinking budgets resulting in a service that does not operate optimally. In contrast, offsite professional surveillance monitoring services seamlessly integrate into an existing structure to lower costs and business risk by replacing costly security guards and increasing efficiency, reliability and accountability.
  3. Clients benefit from the strategic security partnerships they can develop with service providers who draw on their industry experience and in-depth industry knowledge to create custom solutions that shape future security strategies and offer a hugely improved service.
  4. A specialist off-site CCTV monitoring company works in partnership with SAPS and various armed response companies and communicates on a daily basis to share information and intelligence. The result is two-fold: a closer, better informed and trust-based relationship which may have been more difficult to achieve with less frequent interactions and crucially, the prevention and reduction of crime.

Why we need to remain human centric in the tech space

To foster a people-centric culture in an offsite monitoring business revolutionized by smart technology may seem incongruent. But it’s not. It’s essential. 

Our smart technology saves time through its ability to self learn but cannot replace human intuition and the appropriate communication. That’s why we need to remain focused on a people-centric culture to ensure quality service delivery in the offsite monitoring space.

Technology has effectively transformed surveillance capabilities in the security industry as illustrated by hugely improving performance levels. However, this advancement is not to the detriment of our human resources. It has in fact resulted in an increased need to widen the scope of training and the technological upskilling of staff.  With the improved data quality that smart tech offers, more sophisticated and new employee roles are emerging quickly. 

The creation of a culture where staff are valued, well remunerated and continuously trained is at the heart of being able to offer a dedicated and committed service to clients. 

Through this focus on our culture and our team’s intelligent use of our smart technology, we can keep our clients and their property safe. We understand that if we take care of our people, they will take care of you. 

SAPS investigation in collaboration with AI Surveillance yields big success using Vumacam platform

Collaboration between SAPS, JMPD and AI Surveillance (AIS) saw major results on Thursday after using Vumacam Licence Plate Recognition (LPR) cameras to assist with apprehending dangerous suspects who had managed to evade capture for some time.

Linden SAPS requested assistance in tracking a number of vehicles believed to be involved in crimes in the area. Investigators, believing the suspects were active in the CBD contacted area monitoring company AI Surveillance to load the suspect vehicle licence plates into the Vehicle of Interest (VOI) database and monitor for any alerts.  

“Within a few hours, we received a flag from a Vumcam LPR  camera and we immediately informed SAPS and JMPD.  The cameras clearly showed one of the vehicles driving through the South-Western Improvement District (SWID) in the CBD,” explains Rob Nichol, CEO of AI Surveillance.

A JMPD undercover unit was dispatched immediately, managing to locate the vehicle in Fordsburg with two suspects inside the vehicle. Both suspects were detained by JMPD and various fake number plates were found in the vehicle. 

Upon reviewing the plates found in the vehicle against the VOI database, investigators established that the same vehicle had been involved in an incident in which police members were shot at weeks earlier. 

Both suspects are in police custody and the vehicle is being held for evidence. More investigations will follow. 

“This once again shows how effective the LPR cameras are, especially when combined with good investigative work and collaboration between law enforcement and private security. Acting together creates a solid support network to  apprehend criminals and prevent future crime events,” says Nichol 

Closeup of traffic security camera surveillance (CCTV) in the big city.

Offsite monitoring sets itself apart when human judgement and advanced technology are in sync

Intelligent video analytics software showcases the powerful proactive and preventative value of security cameras. The success or failure of the operation however depends on the control room team and their ability to make intelligent and appropriate decisions on the spot. 

That’s why we believe that the future competitive edge of offsite surveillance companies will lie in the skills and abilities of their controllers to interpret evolving situations correctly and make the right decisions in real time to prevent potential threats.  

Having said that, we also understand the demanding role control room teams play in the security chain and the potential devastating consequences of errors. That is why we highly value knowledge sharing and have established industry best practice within our company. 

Our training is ongoing and focused on improving overall knowledge, achieving a thorough understanding of the software as well as information analysis and the fundamental importance of vigilance and situation awareness. 

Most importanty, we create a work environment that allows our controllers to hone their skills so that they can take the right action at the right time using the full extent of our innovative, state-of-the-art technology.