Gallagher solution halts council depot thefts

New Zealand Security Magazine - June-July 2020

Wyndham City Council

Once a target for frequent theft and vandalism, a Wyndham City Council service depot hardens its defences with a Gallagher 33-wire monitored pulse fence perimeter.

Located to the west of Melbourne, Wyndham City is one of the largest and fastest growing municipalities in Australia with a population of around 250,000. Following repeated, targeted thefts that were costing considerable money and making staff feel unsafe, Wyndham City Council upgraded its perimeter security to protect its service depot and its people.

The Wyndham City Council service depot had a standalone 2.1m chain mesh and 33-wire Gallagher monitored pulse security fence in place around its perimeter. The fence was several years old and had suffered numerous attacks of vandalism causing holes in the fence and frequent false alarms episodes, resulting in the need to turn the fence off. 

“This happens more often than you’d expect as staff don’t fully understand the value of a fence maintenance until it’s too late,” says Gallagher Technical Business Development Manager, Greg O’Neill. “Turning it off can seem like the easiest answer, however it means your security fence then becomes ‘just a fence’.”

The depot was being repeatedly targeted by thieves, despite having security guards on site overnight. “Some nights we were dealing with half a dozen attempts from thieves,” says a representative from Wyndham City Council. “The depot is in use 24 hours a day so there would be both security guards and staff there.”

Due to theft, the depot lost significant equipment and experienced damage from vandalism. Over a period of several months, thieves would target the depot again once the tools were replaced. 

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“Being targeted in this way is an unfortunate but common situation for councils as they have to replace the tools quickly to minimise disruption to their day-to-day operations in the community,” says O’Neill.

A Gallagher security installer worked closely with council staff to understand their requirements and developed a solution that would meet their needs. The solution was there all along, it just needed maintenance. 

“We were provided with documentation and knowledge about how the existing fence wasn’t meeting compliance or health and safety regulations,” says Wyndham City Council. “Having the right information made it easy to put forward a business case to upgrade the fence.”

A phased upgrade of the perimeter fence was undertaken, upgrading the targeted areas first. Most of the existing 33-wire Gallagher monitored pulse fence was completely replaced and broken up into six zones, which makes monitoring and responding to alarms easier. 

Concrete jersey barriers with Gallagher monitored pulse fencing on top were installed along the back fence-line to prevent vehicles from driving through the fence. The perimeter is now fully-protected as the 800 metre monitored pulse fence both deters and detects attempts to climb or tamper with the fence.

The council has seen the value of maintaining its perimeter fencing and couldn’t be happier with the result. 

“The fence is professional looking and intimidating, which is a deterrent in itself. The return on investment from this upgrade is huge when you consider the theft and damage related expenses we were dealing with, and it’s given our staff peace of mind. They now feel safe on site and that’s priceless.”