A ‘forward thinking’ council has invested £400,000 in relocating and upgrading its CCTV systems in a move expected to save taxpayers’ money.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council has relocated its CCTV operations from the Parkway multi-storey car park to West Suffolk House, in Bury St Edmunds, and installed state-of-the-art technology and equipment.
As well as being more energy efficient and saving the council around £40,000 a year, it is hoped the new CCTV suite will earn money by taking on new contracts to provide its services to others, including local authorities, businesses and schools.
Cllr John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury, said: “The old CCTV system and old CCTV room were coming to the end of their shelf life so, rather than repair them, we decided to invest, both to improve the service we can offer residents, and our neighbours and businesses in other towns, but also to save our taxpayers’ money.”
The council’s CCTV operators watch 142 cameras across Bury, Mildenhall, Newmarket, Brandon, Stowmarket and Haverhill 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, with a new wireless system enabling cameras to be added during events like Bury’s Christmas Fayre.
“The fact our operation accesses six towns means those six authorities don’t have to invest in expensive CCTV, they’re buying it in from us - and there’s room to expand that service,” added Cllr Robert Everitt.
As cabinet member for families and communities, Cllr Everitt has championed the improvements for making communities feel safer.
St Edmundsbury’s CCTV operators play an important part in locating missing persons, detecting crime and generally creating safer shopping environments.
So far this year, they have captured footage leading to 619 arrests, a third of which they ‘called through’ themselves.
As technical support manager for Norfolk and Suffolk Police, Adam Osborne is part of a team which is responsible for recovering CCTV as evidence.
He said it would not be usual to have to recover CCTV from 60-70 different locations as part of a single investigation and added that better quality images saved the police both time and money.
“It’s like watching something at home - if you watch it on a standard TV it’s reasonable but if you compare it to an HD TV the image is crisper and that’s what these cameras are like,” he said.