Mirfield: Face mask cameras installed at garden centre

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

CCTV mask recognition software

image copyrightKarolmarketing

image captionCustomers are alerted to the need for face coverings by the software at the garden centre

A garden centre has employed mask recognition technology to help stop customers entering without coverings.

Whiteley’s Garden Centre at Mirfield, West Yorkshire, has installed cameras linked to software at the entrance point to spot anyone without a mask.

Face coverings must be worn by

customers in shops, supermarkets and shopping centres around the UK.

The software scans faces and where it finds visible points such as a nose or mouth it flashes a message on screen.

Managers at the centre said they had seen a “90% drop in customers refusing to wear a face covering” which meant they no longer had to have a member of staff manning the door.

General Manager, Peter Williams said: “Customers’ and employees’ safety should be a top priority for all retailers in the current environment.

“I was very excited to see how our visitors reacted to this new system and I must admit I was overwhelmed with the volume of positive feedback we’ve received from customers and employees respectively.

“Our customers are feeling safer coming into the centre knowing that we are doing our best to support national efforts to suppress the virus and our employees are very appreciative of the technology removing the confrontational element, asking customers to put on their mask.”

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Toilet cam: Otumoetai College sparks concerns over bathroom cameras

A Bay of Plenty college is the latest secondary school to spark concerns over security cameras in student toilets.

A mum of two girls at the school was appalled to discover Otumoetai College had installed wall-mounted cameras inside student toilets.

The woman, who does not want to be named, has told the school her daughters will not be using the toilets until they are taken down.

She claims the spherical cameras are high on bathroom walls, capturing vision from inside the cubicles.

But the school says the cameras are only in the public areas of the toilets to ensure the individual safety and security of its students.

The woman said she thought her daughter was mistaken when she said the school had placed cameras inside the bathrooms.

It took a photo to convince her they were real and her daughter wasn’t making up the story.

“I really thought my girl had got it wrong when she told me there were cameras in the girls’ toilets.

“I honestly didn’t think schools could do that. And we hadn’t been told.”

After seeing photographic proof of the camera, she contacted a dean at the school to raise concerns but claims she was told “not to be ridiculous” and “that’s not what we do”.

However, the principal confirmed to the horrified mum that cameras were installed throughout the school last year after a decision by the board of trustees.

She was told they were meant to counter a graffiti problem in the bathrooms and only two people had access to the footage: himself and the person in charge of IT.

The principal tried to reassure the mother the pupils’ privacy was not at stake with vision down into the cubicles blacked out, she said.

“I don’t want to even think of my daughter using the toilet and someone being able to watch her.

“That’s just disgusting.

“I told the school my daughters will not be using the toilets, ever,” she said.

“It’s completely inappropriate that they’ve done it,” she said.

She believed parents should have been notified.

Other parents she had contacted were also outraged.

But Otumoetai College principal Russell Gordon told the Herald the cameras had been installed for about 20 months and only showed the wash bay areas and did not capture any vision inside cubicles.

“The reason for these cameras are to ensure the individual safety and security of our students,” he said.

Prominent notices indicated the presence of cameras in the toilets and the school had clear policy guidelines about storage and access to the information collected.

Gordon said he had only received one complaint from a parent concerned about the placement of a camera, but it only showed students entering and exiting the toilets and did not capture any vision inside cubicles, he said.

Last week, the Herald reported students at Rutherford College ripped down a CCTV camera outside the boys’ bathrooms because they were worried it might capture them exposed.

The school defended the cameras, saying they were

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