A billion Euros a year flow across the cash-counting desks at the Westfälischen Wachschutzes (WWS) enterprise in Recklinghausen, Germany. That’s 2.8 tons of hard cash every day. WWS employees must count all the money. And it’s all been recorded through both the firm’s electronic cash management system, and by a GEUTEBRÜCK CCTV system too.
Besides providing guarding and protection services for commerce and industry, WWS also offers secure cash transportation, cash processing, ATM support services and main cash desk functions for clients such as high street banks, savings and mortgage banks and the Deutsche Post. When WWS moved into a new secure headquarters building and won a significant new cash-handling contract, its insurers advised that an electronic surveillance system providing comprehensive, water-tight documentation of the whole operation would be a wise investment.
Good business senseIncreasing surveillance and traceability made good business sense.
Not just because money must not go missing, but because even innocent accounting discrepancies can cause long delays and generate not only downtime and investigation costs, but a great deal of unpleasant suspicion, too.
Security video recording starts with the arrival of the cash transporter vehicle and the hand-over of the cash. The barcodes on each sealed bag and container are scanned and videoed with high resolution cameras. Since the barcode and video data are automatically paired up and stored in a secure format, the barcode data can be used later to quickly retrieve relevant footage from the database. Any shipment can be tracked through the processing procedures and the synchronous replay facility allows supervisors to analyze any relevant surrounding activity too. In fact the recording of checking-in and the ability to write evidential quality video to CD has itself enabled many discrepancies between customer and service provider to be resolved quickly and has led to an improved working relationship.
Images of workstations, countersWith video documented at every step, the cash makes its way to the 15 cash-counting workstations. Here, workers have welcomed the monitoring system because it has dispelled any unjustified suspicion, which traditionally fell on them.
At least two cameras focus on each workstation, covering the operation and the person from top to toe, recording permanently in near real-time. Pictures of the whole scene enable the full facts to be established. At separate workstations four supervisors have access to live and recorded pictures to help them decide: Was the container damaged or already open? Was the seal broken? Did the counter drop a note and cover it with her foot? Or was the discrepancy due to customer error?
Although customer claims have to be lodged within 120 hours, WWS retains all picture data for 30 days and sequences relating to substantiated discrepancies for 6 months. Besides recording the workstations from 6 am to 10 pm, video detectors trigger the recording of any out-of-hours activity, and of course the site perimeter, the safe and many other areas are also routinely monitored.
As an official of WWS explained, “We didn’t want to leave anything to chance. We chose an all-round, worry-free package. We also play it safe with our 9 Terabyte database which offers extremely high data security owing to the redundancy of our three RAID systems.”