Stocker’s appointment comes at a unique time in the security sector’s history wherein ‘Future Tech’ such as Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and blockchain are being used with new developments in CCTV and video streaming. Public welfare, terrorism, social disorder, security issues and financial restructuring are now at the very forefront of local, national and, indeed, international policy.
In welcoming Stocker to London-based Videosoft’s management team, Stewart McCone (CEO of the business) explained: “Andy is a perfect fit for Videosoft. His people skills, industry and public sector knowledge as well as his professionalism are, quite literally, second to none. Ask anyone who has watched Channel 5’s ‘Criminals: Caught on Camera’. They will be aware that public space CCTV is a subject close to Andy’s heart. Andy knows the local authority and public sector space inside out and is already bringing that deep and thorough knowledge and understanding to Videosoft as we introduce our next generation of video streaming technology.”
McCone continued: “As ‘Street Czar’ for the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Andy was the single point of contact for residents and businesses alike, bringing his brilliant people skills to bear with a no-nonsense approach that championed issues through council departments and ensured the efficient and effective resolution of a host of public safety and crime issues ranging from security through to fly-tipping.”
For someone with such good people rapport, Stocker’s career started in a decidedly ‘tech heavy’ and data-driven way with ten years spent as an operations analyst in corporate IT within the banking and transport sectors before he moved to the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in 2000.
It was there that Stocker first developed a taste for creating solutions for those people subjected to anti-social behaviour and low-level crime and which have been the hallmark of his career ever since.
Gradually taking on more responsibility, Stocker was tasked with operational management of the Borough’s in-house security operation, then the management of the Public Space CCTV service. He oversaw the merger with – and the joint management of – the Royal Borough of Kensington CCTV and London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham CCTV. This combination provided considerable financial savings for the Boroughs and a significant increase in arrests and convictions, as well as a reduction in street crime.
In 2017, Stocker’s role expanded to include responsibility for everything at street level for the council, from crime to litter. He became the ‘Street Czar’, working for two years with residents and business in the Borough and initiating what proved to be the very effective introduction of a deployable CCTV system designed to deter and detect offences.
Important juncture for CCTV
“I’m incredibly excited to be joining Videosoft at what is such an important time for CCTV security,” explained Stocker, “and to be working with Stewart and the Videosoft management team as they are clearly now the leading players in the provision of live video streaming technology for the CCTV and security sector.”
Stocker continued: “My role is very much underpinned by the need to ensure that tech provides real-life improvements and added security for people’s lives while working with public sector organisations, local authorities, the police and the Emergency Services. Streaming live video isn’t easy, but it’s at the very heart of the current street crime reduction requirements and vitally important in the provision of mission-critical live streaming. Lose the live feed at a critical moment and you’ve potentially lost a life.”
From Stocker’s perspective, his new role at Videosoft is also about leveraging the advantages derived by marrying ‘Future Tech’ with CCTV and video streaming. “I’ll be aiming to help non-tech people understand what tech can do and cannot do and outline the potential benefits of things like Artificial Intelligence, supporting clients to derive the most out of the security solutions that they purchase.”
Asset to clients
Stocker’s understanding of local authority and public sector funding will also be an asset to clients who need to increase service levels, but may have budget pressures being placed upon them in addition to having to deal with reduced staffing levels.
“Local authorities have very complex funding structures,” continued Stocker, “but at the same time they need to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in a fiscal atmosphere of declining resources and tight budgets. I expect to be helping them to work smarter and access funding streams they might not have considered and which may indirectly benefit other cash-strapped Emergency Services, including the police.”
In conclusion, Stocker observed: “When it comes down to it, I want to be in a situation where I can help people and help to improve the world in which we live. I want to be able to do something different and write the rule book rather than follow the rule book. At Videosoft, I’ll be able to do just that.”
*As stated, Andy Stocker features in Channel 5’s ‘Criminals: Caught on Camera’. Watch Episode 5: ‘Thieves and Thugs’ at https://bit.ly/39hxLaF