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Variations on a 'keep out' theme

* TV SchoolWatch is a new and cheap alternative for schools interested in closed circuit television. It is so cheap, it might not be taken seriously. But earlier this month the product won DIY Week's annual award for Safety and Security.

According to the judges, TV SchoolWatch, which is marketed by Security Vision, has "superb picture quality", is "simple to install" and at Pounds 85.06 (excluding VAT) is "exceptionally well priced". The kit consists of a single camera (although others could be added), a 12v power supply, and 20 metres of cable which can be plugged directly into an ordinary television or a VCR.

TV SchoolWatch is available from from Security Vision, tel: 01458 274770 * The Schools Consortium, a group of over 50 schools in England, is planning to launch a new access control system by the autumn term. Its system uses a swipe card to control access, which, according to group chairman Don Thaw is unlike others on the market: "As far as I am aware this is the first security system that has been designed by teachers for teachers and developed after consultation with parents, teachers, governors and students."

One major objective, Thaw says, was to keep costs down, and the group estimates that each swipe card reader will cost around Pounds 180, with each card costing around 5p.

The system is also very robust, and has been designed to be flexible, says Thaw: "We are aware of the pressure on school budgets and so schools can use it in a number of ways. Some may wish simply to have one reader connected to a single security door. Others may want to put the reader next to a number of doors or even in every classroom."

The consortium swipe card reader, which is about the size of a VHScassette, can also be used as a class registration system and as a pager. "The pager can be linked to the main office and teachers can send messages to it. There's also a panic button which can be pressed if the teacher needs urgent assistance. The main point is that schools can decide how sophisticated they want the system to be," says Thaw.

A prototype system has been tested and there are plans to hold trials in three schools. The Schools Consortium has joined up with the security company Chubb, which will be marketing the system.

For further information, contact Don Thaw, tel: 0181 573 1039.

* This summer, the producers of the school adminstration system SIMS are launching an access control module called Visitors Log. The module is designed to make it easier for office staff to monitor arrivals and departures, and works like an electronic visitors' book.

When a visitor enters a school, various details can be entered into a computer, such as name, date, time, purpose of visit, whom he or she is visiting and so on. There will also be an optional video camera and identification badge system that can include name and photograph.

For further information, contact SIMS, tel: 01234 838080

* Now two years old, School-Watch is an initiative of Hutchison Telecom. Schools throughout an area are equipped with message pagers, tiny devices which display a text message sent by another user.

The messages inform all nearby schools and the local police co-ordinator dealing with such crimes as break-ins, attempted crimes and suspicious movements. More than 1,300 schools belong to about 35 schemes throughout Britain.

Hutchison claims the system makes pupils, teachers and parents feel more secure as well as deterring crime and, occasionally helping to catch criminals.

The price is negotiable but is quoted by Hutchison Telecom as "less than the cost of a daily newspaper". A nine-minute promotional video featuring Howard Stableford of BBC TV's Tomorrow's World explains how the system works.

For further information, contact Hutchison Telecom, tel: 0800 282826

* The company that claims to be the biggest supplier of closed circuit television cameras in the UK, Sensormatic CamEra, which has installations in hundreds of schools, has produced a booklet of advice in conjunction with West Midlands police.

Knowing Your School explains how to assess the security of your school. The leaflet contains details of the British Standards you should always seek in security equipment - from locks to closed circuit television - and contains a useful section of national telephone numbers together with space for local ones. According to Sensormatic, closed circuit television reduces the incidence of attempted crime and can help police arrest offenders swiftly.

For further information, contact Sensormatic CamEra Ltd, tel: 0800 757577

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