How Does Car Park Security Work? (Simple Guide)

James McKellar February 1, 2022 8 min read

When it comes to car parks, we often overlook the types of technology that can be utilised in keeping that location secure and controlled.

Despite this, there is actually a range of ways that you can deploy car park security and manage your vehicle access control effectively.

The last time you visited a car park there was likely some kind of security system in place, we may not even consider some of them and just think of them as part of our everyday lives.

In this guide, we will be looking at the background of Car Park Security, some of the different elements commonly used, some benefits of parking security and different ways it is deployed in real world settings.

In sum, we'll cover:

  • Car Park Security Background
  • Key Components of Car Park Security 
  • How Does Car Park Security Work
  • Car Park Security Benefits 
  • Industries That Can Deploy Car Park Security

What is Car Park Security?

Car park security is exactly what it says on the tin, it is the methods we use to keep an area where vehicles are parked secure. There is a huge variety of systems and technologies that can be used to secure a car park and all of them are encompassed by an area of security called vehicle access control. 

Most people tend to overlook the complexity and depth of some of the systems and technologies deployed in car parks. It is not normally something we give any second thought to and just park our cars and leave.

The concept of a pay and display car park where you put your coins in the machine at the beginning of your parking is becoming less and less common, making way for newer, and frankly, more effective methods such as paying by phone.

These outdated methods provide little to no information for the car park owners and do not allow for any real security and control over the car park. There are a lot of different ways to keep a car park secure and we will be exploring them in more detail across this guide.

A lot of people may know about radio frequency technology when it comes to vehicle recognition and it is often compared to automated number plate recognition, both methods are ways of controlling what vehicles are allowed in your car park and having a record of what vehicles are currently in your car park. 

What Types of Issues Can Car Park Security Solve?

Below are just a handful of examples of issues that can be addressed by deploying different forms of car park security.

  • Unauthorised Parking - stop people using your car park illegally or parking and going somewhere else. This is very common in city centres as people will try and find the cheapest or a ‘free’ option.

  • Abandoned Cars - in the UK there is still a problem with old or damaged cars being left in car parks or other private areas, having a car park security solution will reduce and even eliminate this.

  • Out of Hours Parking - we have seen this a lot of times, people using private car parks for whatever reasons from criminal activity to anti-social behaviour to unauthorised meetups.

  • Free Parking - sometimes people will not pay for their parking in certain car parks, if there are no barriers, cameras or security methods they will often take their chances and not pay for parking, losing you revenue.

  • Fly Tipping - an unsecured car park is often seen as the perfect place to engage in fly tipping and disposing of other unwanted items. With car park security, you can stop them from getting in your car park or catch the guilty parties.

Obviously, each car park will have its own issues and things that need to be addressed, but these are just some of the common examples that our clients have had. Every business will have different needs or priorities when it comes to its car park security.


How Does Car Park Security Work? 

As there are a lot of elements of car park security, we are going to look at three of the most common types and break them down briefly. We will be covering automatic number plate recognition systems, CCTV, and parking management software.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition for Car Parks

ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) is a method used to keep car parks secure and a form of vehicle access control. As the name states, the system scans inbound and outbound vehicles’ plates and either grant or deny access to the car park based on various factors.

Factors used to determine a vehicle’s access level can be things like if the owner has paid for their parking, if they are an employee and are on the database or if they have temporary clearance. 

In terms of a private car park in a retail setting, plate information is temporarily stored and once the vehicles have left the car park successfully the plate information is removed.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition is used in a range of different car parks across the United Kingdom and the globe, it can be installed with various conditions but however, it is deployed it will increase the car park’s security exponentially. 

ANPR Lumo PDF Comparison

CCTV for Car Park Security

CCTV has become a normal part of our everyday lives and it is not rare to see them almost everywhere you go, from supermarkets to offices, to gyms, to car parks, to homes.

The sheer amount of CCTV cameras in the UK has exploded in recent years, and they are becoming more and more common in a lot of different settings, in fact, it is estimated to be around 700,000 CCTV cameras.

In the context of car parks, a CCTV system can often be paired or part of another technology; For example, an ANPR installation has cameras that identify the plates, so can be argued to be a form of closed circuit television. 

Aside from this, CCTV cameras are often used in car parks and parking structures to keep the vehicles secure once they are parked, as opposed to granting entry or exit. 

Using a CCTV system in a car park can have a huge impact on a number of issues that can manifest in an unsecured car park. From catching criminals to stopping unwanted visitors, to ensuring everyone has paid or is allowed to park in your car park, to a range of other benefits.

Parking Management Software

Another way of keeping your car park secure is introducing parking management software, which does exactly what it sounds like, gives an overview of all the vehicles inside your car park. 

Not only can parking management technology help you optimise your car park but it can also hugely increase your security.

An example of what parking management software can do is digitally track how many cars are inside your car park and even tell you how many spaces are available. 

This has a huge number of benefits from being able to manage your car park better to being able to identify suspicious vehicles or behaviour and patterns, to knowing when the last vehicle has left your car park digitally.


What are the Benefits of Car Park Security?

Car park security can be defined as anything used to create a more secure, controlled and trackable car park experience, which leaves a lot of room for different solutions.

So, with this in mind, we will be looking at the overarching benefits of having car park security measures.

Eliminate Unauthorised Vehicles

Having better control over your car park allows you to reduce and even eliminate any unauthorised vehicles on your premises. 

Whether you are a private car park, stopping people using your site for parking and walking elsewhere or keeping your location secure.

Keep Track of Who Comes In & Out 

Being able to know who has been in and out of your car park is an added benefit to your car park security systems. 

Compare this to pay and display and there is no tracking, data or statistics on buyer behaviour, patterns, vehicles and more.

Save Time and Effort 

Deploying a form of car park security, such as a barrier allows for a lot of saved time and effort. 

Gone are the days when there would be security guards on gates or entrances to car parks around the clock, automation saves staff costs and effort.

Increase Customer and Visitor Confidence

If you have a secure car park your visitors will be much more comfortable parking their vehicles at your premises and in turn, much more likely to return. 

This has different levels of impact depending on your type of business, if you are a retail location you will likely get more sales, if it’s for a business meeting your clients will see you as more professional and invested in their vehicle’s security.

Set Opening Hours

With the inclusion of some form of car park security system, you can have much more control of when your car park is open to the public or visitors. 

Take, for instance, an ANPR barrier, it can be set to only open between X and Y hours, with a call button or form of manual override to access the car park outside of hours.


What Industries Can Benefit from Car Park Security?

As we can see, car park security can be fairly broad and cover a lot of different technologies, aspects and areas. With this being said, there are a plethora of industries that could benefit from installing car park security systems and measures.

When it comes to car park security, there are solutions for both short term parking and longer duration parking, meaning the places where these systems can be deployed are very varied.

To put this into context, let’s look at a few examples of the kinds of places that could utilise car park security measures.

  • Retail
  • Gyms
  • Education
  • Hotels
  • Security
  • Police and law enforcement
  • Hospitals and healthcare
  • Cinemas
  • Restaurants 
  • Prisons
  • Automotive 
  • Commercial 
  • Industrial estates
  • Storage facilities
  • Shopping centres

This is by no means a full list and just to highlight a few areas that could majorly benefit from having some form of vehicle access control at their locations.

Finding ways to manage vehicles, protect your car park and reduce your costs do not have to be complex, as this article has shown.

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Why Should You Trust Us?

It seems that people and vehicle access control is an incredibly complex world using hard to understand technology, yet it impacts so many of the environments we interact with on a daily basis.

We are here to fill in the disconnect. We'll break down access control, the benefits, and drawbacks as well, including expert insight based on over 30 years experience in the industry operating as an independent British company. Our goal is to give you ALL the information so you know what's right for you.

Please consider subscribing or adding to the conversation in the comments below. We appreciate you taking the time to visit our resource centre.

James McKellar

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