Control Room Egornomics 101 : Visual Support (PIRs)

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PIR stands for Priority Information Requirements and it is a list of information gathering tasks listed in order of priority depending on the urgency, necessity and availability of resources required to support the execution of an operational decision. An effective support function of a CCTV control room is to deliver PIRs to all members of an organisation. PIRs is the key to facilitating visibility and support from an organization, particularly senior management.

The key issue is to determine the nature of the security support that the CCTV control room is to fulfil, and then support CCTV operators in fulfilling this function by ensuring that security is appropriately prioritised in their day to day working routines. In practice it is rarely the case that CCTV control rooms fulfil only a security function – in addition they may act as an information point for queries, or a gatherer of evidence or provide administrative duties to the organisation in which they are based. A CCTV operator, undertaking a variety of tasks that fall under each of these functions, will inevitably have to prioritise particular tasks over others when the control room gets busy. This is discussed further in the WATCH components.

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Control Room Ergonomics 101: F.A.S.T

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It should be remembered that the key goal of decision makers at times of crisis is to consider information rather than to derive it, so the control room, equipment and systems in place should be set up to facilitate this. FAST information can make the difference in critical situations. It needs to be registered and easily accessible – in other words it should be Frequent, Accurate, and Systematic and in a Timely manner. Fast information gathering is a CCTV surveillance operator’s core function.  Surveillance is the operation of learning trends, behavioural traits and activities that change in a given environment. Collecting information from CCTV surveillance and other resources is essential for building a detailed knowledge of persons, vehicles and areas under surveillance.

There are two types of information that a surveillance operator requires when executing surveillance:

• Basic Information Requirements and

• Priority Information Requirements – PIRs

In Basic Information Requirements, you determine what you need to know. It also enables you to answer your Priority Information Requirements (PIRs). PIRs are mostly driven by your Surveillance Supervisory Team (SST) who determines what they want to confirm, deny, or where to fill-in the gaps. This information helps the SST in determining a course of action and be able to make the key decisions during the execution. Some information derived from the execution of information gathering will be converted to PIRs:

Prioritize and then develop your PIRs

Once you have compiled your information requirements, determined your Surveillance Supervisory Team’s requirements first and rank in order information requirements from most critical to least critical. You can’t answer all of them due to time constraints and resources. These are the tasks that you just do not have the time or resources for. They should be put at the bottom of the list of priorities.

In crafting your information requirements, you want to address the following five “W’s”:

  • What is it you are looking for?
  • Where is it that you want to look?
  • When is it that you want to look?
  • Why is this information so valuable to achieving your Primary Goal?
  • Who is it that needs the information?

However, you can collect all the information you require, but if there is no plan to get it to the right people at the right time to make operational decisions – it is fairly useless.

We unite in times of disaster

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I was reading a fellow country man’s article titled  “Why the Southern Highlands & Hela Provinces are important to me” and it inspired me to tell this story.  It almost brought tears down as I reflected on a similar experience back in 2001 when I was at Gordon’s market in Port Moresby. I was with a young Erave youth; his name is Leme who left his village when he was aged 5 years with his older brother because of a tribal fight that destroyed his entire village and displaced the villagers.  He went back to his village after some years but he could not settle in so he drifted to Madang with some “wantoks”. Homeless and wondering around I found him in town and took him in after hearing about his ordeals. He just became part of the family and he even changed his surname to my family name. Anyway we were in Port Moresby trying to locate his older brother who lived somewhere at 5 mile area.  As soon as we got off the PMV at Gordons market and walked past some women sitting behind their esky coolers selling ice block, his face suddenly lit up and he smiled. I asked what he was smiling about and he told me, “mi harim tokples ya”. (I can hear my native language being spoken.)

We eventually found some information from the ladies and went to 5 mile where he was reunited with his brother after all these years. He decided to stay with me in Madang instead of with his older brother. He is now married to a lady from Banab, NCR Madang and lives with her in the village.

Anyway, the point of these experience after reading the article by Scott Waide, I made these comments on his blog: “from my point of view we are all Papua New Guineans despite our language barriers and cultures. I am from the coastal region and I don’t know how to speak Erave or Tari languages but that did not stop the brotherhood that developed between Leme and myself.  Personally, I disagree with provincial day events and provincial flags. It only separates our unity as Papua New Guineans. I believe we should do away with promoting provinciality as it only stereotypes us into classes. Natural disasters like the Rabaul Volcanic eruptions in 1994, Aitepe Tsuanmi in 1998 and recent disasters at Manam, Kadovar and Mendi have brought back that unity of independence in 1975 despite our Provincial barriers.  Learning of how Bougainville supplied aid to the victims of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Southern Highlands is a classic example of this story. The bottom line is that we unite in times of disaster and emergency despite our cultural differences is a phenomenon worth considering in reforming our government of the day, its country values and our constitutional rights.”

Scott mentioned in another article that “…in the last 10 years, the monopoly of information has shifted from government to citizens…” and “…in a disaster prone country like Papua New Guinea, it is crucial that we review our processes and use our resources better..” which I totally agree with. There is no civil defense set up in Papua New Guinea unlike most countries. I am not referring to the PNGDF or the National Disaster Center in Port Moresby but non-combatant civilians, volunteers trained in the capacity of providing humanitarian relief work. This can be taught in schools by reforming education curriculums and the national qualification framework to train civilians at all levels of education.

If we really value National Security, as citizens we should not take sides in the political arena while the current sovereignty of our nation and democracy is being manipulated by greed, foreign gain and power.  Unity in times of disaster should be the same when it concerns the governance of national security.

Control Room Ergonomics 101

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Human Factors in any control room environment has been the focus of my research into trying to understand what makes the job of an operator relatively challenging and how to mitigate options for better job satisfaction.

CCTV surveillance is a relatively new concept of security support in Papua New Guinea. Bearing in mind that,  internet and social media, email and blogs have transformed business through  computers and mobile phones making online marketing and advertising to be competitive inside the international information arena in recent years of cyber activities which inevitably brought about the introduction of the Cyber Law by the government in 2016.

So as far as CCTV monitoring is concerned, we only have a handful of trained operators in the country who really understand and appreciate the function of CCTV surveillance from a control room and dedicated CCTV workstations.

In 2005 a fully functional CCTV control room with an arsenal of 126 analog cameras, digital video recording,  two workstations and the pioneering CCTV operators without any formal CCTV operator training embarked on the job of CCTV monitoring of high security assets in the mining operations situated in Enga Province. That job since has expanded to a little over 400 analog and digital cameras, recruiting and training of more operators and a state of the art CCTV control room in the country along with its own technical support team.

The expansion came with increased workload and stress on the operators whom I have had the privilege and opportunity of supervising and managing the day to day operations on a 21 days FIFO roster. Remuneration is an issue but the last eight months have been the reason for understanding and implementation of standards, training and health requirements in improved work performance of the operators and increased job satisfaction.

Stay with me because I am going to post more articles about the ergonomics of a CCTV control room and functions with some CCTV surveillance training that I developed throughout the pursuit of improving job satisfaction as opposed to financial appraisal.

“Remember the SCOPE.”

Facial Recognition Software Steals Identity

The future in identity theft is here on Facebook. This has already happened to some of my Facebook friends and it comes in the form of Facial Recognition software apps. Every time you try out one of their apps you resign your privacy rights of your contacts, GPS location and pictures. It then collects your selfies for its database to create virtual facial images of a person complete with aged variations, opposite sex and various other combinations. The downside to this technology is your online privacy, online behavior and security is at risk and inevitably the theft of your identity for scams and malicious attacks.

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PRIORITY INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS (PIRs)

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Illegal Vietnamese fishermen detained2:42

 Source: Cairns Post

The occupants of an illegal Vietnamese fishing boat have been detained in Cairns. Courtesy: Department of Immigration and Border Protection

VIETNAMESE fishermen have been apprehended off the coastline of Cairns with a haul of nearly 2.5 tonnes of poached sea cucumbers.

Fifteen crew members were on board the vessel that was caught near Lihou Reef in the Coral Sea, about 630km southeast of Cairns, by Maritime Border Command (MBC).

The boat was spotted by an MBC surveillance aircraft on February 3 and later pursued by Australian Border Force cutter Storm Bay.

media_camera15 Vietnamese fishermen disembark from a border force boat at Portsmith Cairns after being apprehended off Cairns’ coast with 2.4 tonnes of poached sea cucumbers. PICTURE: JUSTIN BRIERTY

The crew and their vessel were apprehended and taken to Cairns yesterday for further investigation by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Parks Australia for breaking environmental and fisheries laws.

The 2.4 tonnes of sea cucumbers and 10 large dried fish, that were also seized, were disposed of at sea.

It is the 10th foreign boat caught since July last year with a majority snared in northern Australian waters.

MBC acting commander Stephen Alexander said it should serve as a warning to illegal foreign fishers that this behaviour would not be tolerated in Australian waters.

media_camera15 Vietnamese fishermen disembark from a border force boat at Portsmith Cairns after being apprehended off Cairns’ coast with 2.4 tonnes of poached sea cucumbers. PICTURE: JUSTIN BRIERTY

“Australia’s maritime domain exceeds 10 million square kilometres, but no matter where these boats are, our officers will continue to work tirelessly and, in collaboration with our partners, to ensure that Australia’s waters remain free from illegal fishing,” he said.

Parks Australia marine compliance director Dr Andrew Read said Lihou Reef had been a sanctuary since 1982 and was one of the nation’s most pristine reef ecosystems.

media_cameraA Vietnamese fishing vessel suspected of illegally fishing in Australian waters has been apprehended off the coast of Cairns.

“Ensuring illegal fishing activities, including foreign fishing are stopped, is essential for the protection and conservation of this highly valued marine habitat,” he said.

In recent months there has been a spike in the number of Vietnamese fishing vessels sighted and apprehended in Australia’s northeastern waters, and the waters of Papua New Guinea, Palau and New Caledonia.

The activity is being driven by increased prices for sea cucumbers on the world market.