Locks and Security News: your weekly locks and security industry newsletter
14th April 2021 Issue no. 553
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Call for care homes to consider how they protect residents
Security specialist urges the discussion of how CCTV could be used to prevent mistreatment in care homes to continue.
As a recent BBC Panorama exposes yet another care home scandal, security specialist Gary Trotter urges the care minister Norman Lamb and management of the other 20,000 care and nursing homes across the UK to think about how they are protecting their residents to avoid future incidents.
A leading chain of care homes, HC-One, for older people is planning to offer CCTV cameras in residents' rooms to help stop abuse, neglect and theft by staff after secret filming resulted in seven members of staff being dismissed, two were convicted of assault.
Gary Trotter, general manager at Hadrian Technology, a north-east based company who offers cutting-edge CCTV security solutions explains why CCTV could help put a stop to the re-occurring wrongdoings which are exposed in care homes each year, along with the moral implications that institutions would have to recognise if they were to install surveillance in a care home.
Gary said: "Anyone with an elderly or sick relative - whether it's brother, daughter, father or grandmother - would be devastated to find out their loved one was being mistreated, when they have trusted an organisation that is expected to provide care.
Introducing CCTV should be a carefully considered decision, having a camera installed that observes an elderly or sick relative is a sensitive topic for anyone. The idea of using CCTV in care settings was floated last autumn by the Care Quality Commission, the sector regulator, but understandably the commission retains serious reservations about the filming of care procedures but with the innovations in technology that have been created over the last decade you would think we could come up with a solution that stops misdemeanours occurring in places of care.
"CCTV is now at a stage where it could be considered as a helpful tool, bespoke systems can be designed so they are both inexpensive and easy to run. There are also ways that you can run CCTV so footage may never be seen, unless a cause for concern is raised and footage from a specific, time, date, or location needs to be checked. If CCTV is used correctly, which would be of the utmost importance in this case, and those who have access to it are properly vetted and trained, care home employees who act professionally will also be protected if they are made to feel vulnerable or threatened by a resident."
Care minister Norman Lamb said that while CCTV cameras raised important issues of privacy in care homes, "there are occasions when it may be appropriate for their use to be considered."
The public opinion survey that HC-One has carried out shows 80% support the move towards an opt-in CCTV scheme, and in a Comres survey of 2,000 adults carried out for the company earlier this month, 36% strongly supported the installation of visible cameras in care homes and a further 44% somewhat supported it. Only 14% said they opposed the idea.
Gary continued: "We provide CCTV for commercial and domestic clients who are looking for a variety of solutions, it is important to us that we provide the right set up for a client and that we make sure they understand the moral implications behind the use of CCTV.
"I believe if used correctly, CCTV could help prevent abuse in care homes, as well as provide evidence for care homes when there is an incident between a resident and carer, as long as it's consensual and the key to it working is figuring out how it would be policed. That is why I urge the care minister Norman Lamb to consider what legislation is in place to protect the sick and elderly in these institutions, and I ask the management teams that represent the homes - of which there are more than 20,000 - across this country to keep thinking about what they do to protect their clients and employees."
4th June 2014