Our services

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Alarm Monitoring

  • Fire detection
  • Building safety and security (intruder, radio lone worker and personal attack alarms)
  • Critical system, environmental and building management alarms

We provide a 24/7 alarm monitoring service for around 3,500 individual alarms across the University estate at our control centres in the Old Observatory and on the Old Road Campus, with a link to Thames Valley Police.

Collaborating with the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Chief Fire Officers Association and the University Safety Office, we work according to the University Fire Safety Policy Statement S2/05.

This service supports local Fire Risk Management Plans as part of a duty of care to keep all University staff, students, visitors and residents safe and secure. We provide year-round out-of-hours response, supporting departments in dealing with alarm activations to ensure University staff, students and properties are safe.

Our Command and Control information management system provides detailed information on alarm activations and their causes, supporting local problem-solving and corrective action. We also support departments with alarm testing, system maintenance and incident investigation.

Collaboration and information-sharing with departments in relation to alarm systems enables effective and timely response. Effective detection systems provide a safe and secure environment for staff and students, and increases the security of University property and assets.

Integrating systems will provide future opportunities to increase safety and security, including links between alarms and CCTV.

CCTV monitoring, recording and storage

The University operates a CCTV system to prevent and detect crime and to support public safety. The system is operated in accordance with Data Protection and Human Rights Acts 1998 and the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. It is accredited under the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s Code of Practice.

The University CCTV system is operated by trained Security Services staff at its secure CCTV suites at the Old Observatory and the Old Road Campus. We have a live link to the Thames Valley Police CCTV suite to facilitate live streaming of incidents as part of an Information Sharing Agreement.

The Estates Services CCTV platform, managed by Security Services, has scope to integrate with departments’ local CCTV systems, where compatible, and provide data storage. This will enable us to view, review, and store and download department CCTV systems in response to an adverse event such as an intruder or fire alarm activation. More information can be found in the relevant section of our website.

Security patrols

Uniformed Patrol Officers provide intelligence-led foot and vehicle patrols of the University estate to reassure staff, students and visitors whilst being a visible deterrent against those wishing to commit crimes or disrupt the University’s day-to-day functions. Officers will respond to incidents and, where necessary, request help from emergency services.

Crime reduction advice

Our specialist Crime Prevention Design Advisor and our Crime Prevention & Reduction Advisor can provide advice and guidance on:

  • Crime prevention through environmental design, advising on building design and security for new builds and refurbishment projects.
  • Development and review of building security plans and emergency action plans in support of the University Physical Security Policy.
  • Tailored crime prevention measures to reduce the incidence of crime and anti-social behaviour, along with problem-solving where persistent issues are identified.
  • The care of victims and welfare support.
  • Personal property and bicycle security and safety advice.

Key holding

We provide a key holding service to departments that includes response to emergency situations 365 days a year. Through our secure key management system, we can provide a fully auditable intelligent key storage facility, with biometric access controls for authorised personnel. Effective key management also reduces the cost of replacing keys and locks. 

Building locking and unlocking

Our building locking and unlocking service enables departmental staff to come and go safe in the knowledge that the building is secure.

This can include a full internal security patrol of the building and setting and un-setting of any security systems. We can also provide authorised access to members of staff and students locked out of their workplace or accommodation.

Operational communications

Through the Estates Services radio scheme, we can provide access to a high-quality, encrypted radio communications network that offers:

  • Improved staff safety and security, including lone worker monitoring
  • Direct emergency contact with the Security Services control room
  • Additional functions including wireless public address, text messaging and alarm notification.

VIP Visits, Meetings and Events

Security Services offer first-rate security and safety cover for University VIP visits, meetings and events as required. We use our expertise and resources to work with event organisers, to identify and mitigate risks, with the object, wherever possible, of enabling events to go ahead. There is a budget for this work and charges are not normally applied to the event organiser. Please get in touch to discuss your needs.

Out-of-term security provision

During closed periods (such as outside term), or during building maintenance, redevelopment and refurbishment, we can provide the following services:

  • Internal building security patrols
  • External security patrols of grounds/sites
  • Key storage and management for emergency response
  • Controlled access management
  • Alarm monitoring, response and resolution
  • Incident response, management and resolution

Crime Prevention Design Advice

Our Crime Prevention Design Advisers can help with improving the security of all buildings and sites and designing out the opportunity for crime. They carry out full security surveys and provide advice and support for all aspects of crime prevention. 

Security training and development

Our dedicated trainer can provide:

  • Bespoke, cost-effective security-related training and development for University departments and colleges
  • Support and guidance in developing and testing of local crisis-management and response plans
  • Structured incident de-briefings
  • Security training for key personnel, such as reception teams.

Car Parking Enforcement

Security Services is the authorised operator of the University’s car parking scheme. The team is responsible for the regulation and enforcement of parking in both departmental and non-departmental spaces within the University estate. 

Security Vetting and Screening

Personnel security (vetting and screening) provides assurance of the trustworthiness, identity, integrity and reliability of employees, visitors, contractors and temporary staff. Personnel Services publishes advice, guidance and regulations on pre-employment screening processes and procedures.

Security Services also provide a range of screening solutions for University departments, colleges and other University-related organisations, including:

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) – Enhanced Level Checks

The DBS helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups. DBS checks should be carried out for certain posts that involve regulated activity with children under the age of 18 or with adults who are in vulnerable situations. Further details on these requirements are available on the Personnel site.

Security Services offers advice and guidance on which types of post require DBS checks, as well as on processing and submitting completed applications.

DBS – Basic Level Checks

Security Services can advise on screening for University posts when confirmation of identity and criminal record is required but an enhanced level DBS check is not applicable. Basic UK criminal record checks would disclose information relating to any unspent criminal convictions recorded on central records.

University Enhanced Level Screening

Working with our external contractor, Horus, Security Services provides a bespoke enhanced screening service to meet the needs of departments and colleges. In certain posts this enhanced level is mandatory; details of these posts are available from the Personnel team.

Overseas Criminal Records Checks

The University is a cosmopolitan workplace, attracting staff from all over the world. Security Services offers an overseas criminal record checking service for overseas applicants, who are unlikely to appear on the UK criminal records database. This is often easier to do before the applicant arrives in the UK so please contact us for early advice.

Departmental Screening Policy

Any personnel vetting and screening system can only provide a snapshot in time; a holistic approach is needed on the whole issue of personnel security. Screening should be fair, transparent, proportionate and in line with University guidance on pre-employment screening and Data Protection principles. Departments may wish to provide local guidance on who is responsible for the different parts of the process, how these will be authorised and who is ultimately responsible for staff appointments. Security Services can advise on producing a departmental screening policy and establishing effective security controls.

Contact us

To contact the OUSS Administration Team on matters of vetting and screening, please e-mail screening@admin.ox.ac.uk or phone 01865 (2)82152.