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Police Federation – More than just PCs

The Police Federation’s new headquarters is a multifunctional building with training, conference, residential, leisure and office uses – and it has a suitably complex AV specification. James Christopher reports 

As the staff association that represents 140,000 police officers up to and including the rank of Chief Inspector, the Police Federation of England and Wales is a modern organisation employing approximately 70 people. It is based in a new, purpose-built headquarters in Leatherhead, about 30km south of London.

The new headquarters’ AV equipment, spanning from the basement to the second floor, was specified and installed by Reading-based integrator Reflex. The clients’ requirements were complex, as the building’s uses encompass residential, leisure, training and conference facilities. The client’s key objectives were ease of use, central control and a commonality of user interfaces.

One of the key elements of the spec is an Exterity IPTV distribution system which, together with Extron video and audio distribution amplifiers, delivers digital terrestrial television and other video content to over 80 end-points.

For instance, in the swimming pool and gym complex in the basement, three ceiling-mounted NEC 32in LCD displays are fed with video signals from the IPTV system – as are personal screens on various items of gym equipment. A Crestron MP2E IP-based control system allows the control of channel selection, volume levels and power on/off.

JBL and KEF ceiling and wall speakers, powered by RCF and Denon amps, provide continuity of sound across the gym, changing areas and pool area. Additionally, MP3 or CD playback is available via a local computer in the gym office.

Ground floor

The ground floor comprises a mixture of training and conference facilities, offices, and bedrooms for course attendees.

A 7in Polyvision LCD panel installed outside every conference, training and committee room displays that room’s status. These panels are fed from a Polyvision Room Wizard room booking system, which also links into the building’s property management system.

The two ground-floor training rooms, under Crestron control, each have an XGA ceiling-mounted Epson EMP-822 LCD projector, which project onto a 1.8m wide Screen Int ceiling-mounted electric screen. The screen is made interactive by connecting a 15in SMART Sympodium TFT tablet to a host PC within each room. There is a Marantz DVD/JVC VCR combination in each room, and a Kramer presentation switcher lets users change between equipment. There is also a Trantec VHF radio microphone system.

Lectern-mounted connection plates (custom-made by Reflex) can hook up to camcorders, document cameras or laptops. The user interface is a Crestron 8.5in WiFi touch panel, which can be operated from anywhere in the room.

To achieve even sound coverage across the whole area, a number of wall-mounted JBL Control 23 speakers are installed. The audio installation also includes connections for lapel microphones and an induction loop for the hard of hearing (which was installed by another company).

Conference room division

The conference room can operate as one single space or two independent rooms – and is also under Crestron control. In single-room mode, a ceiling-mounted Epson EMP-1810 LCD projector faces towards the main focal wall, and projects onto a ceiling-mounted, 2m-wide Screen Int Compact electric screen. Two strategically placed NEC 40in repeater monitors ensure the whole room can view the content of the screen comfortably. Again, interactivity is achieved through a 15in SMART TFT tablet connected to a PC.

The installation includes DVD, VCR, a Kramer switcher and a connection plate. The audio system comprises a number of JBL Control 23s, plus an induction loop. Revolabs wireless microphones on the desk connect to a Business Recorder system used to record conferences, with the recording being burned to CD for distribution after the event.

When split into two rooms, each has its own integrated audiovisual facilities. One room, nominated the master room, contains the larger screen on the main focal wall. The adjacent secondary room has a smaller (1.8m-wide) Screen Int Compact screen and ceiling-mounted Epson EMP-7900 projector for use in this configuration. Interactivity is provided by a 15in SMART TFT tablet connected to a host PC located within each room; a Crestron WiFi touch panel gives control of the system.

All single-room functionality is available to both the master and secondary room, including independent switching of selected audio sources to the wall-mounted speakers in each room.

In the atrium area, three 57in NEC LCD displays are wall mounted with input from the IPTV distribution system, distributed via a ONELAN Net-Top-Box receiver in the main reception desk. A local PC attached to each display allows computer-based presentations and information with audio for waiting visitors. Full control is available remotely via a Crestron IP-based QMC-RMC Mini Processor.

To the side of the atrium is a bar area with a networked Imerge S3000 sound system – while in the reception, a digital signage system, again delivered via a ONELAN Net-Top-Box, welcomes visitors.

Each of the bedrooms throughout the building has a 26in Sharp widescreen LCD TV with built-in speakers, chosen for their discreet profile and low running costs. Each display can accept computer resolutions up to XGA and video inputs from the IPTV system.

First floor

On the first floor, three committee rooms – again, under Crestron control – each have a 57in NEC wall-mounted LCD display. Interactivity comes from a 15in SMART TFT tablet connected to a host PC located within the room. The displays receive signals from the TV distribution system, and are supported by the familiar DVD/VCR combination. A wall-mounted connection plate has inputs for auxiliary devices.

Computer access is through a resident PC in each room with additional laptop connections and a Kramer switcher allows users to easily change from device to device. The TV studio features a broadcast quality camcorder and a live content producer for the recording and transmission of meetings, conferences and interviews. The content producer also streams live or recorded video to the IPTV distribution system for local viewing.

Following the project’s 18-month rollout, the Police Federation took out a three-year maintenance contract to ensure the smooth, ongoing operation of all the equipment.