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.