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Camera Upgrade Required To Ensure 'Effective CCTV Service' In Hart

2013/11/24 Viewers:

Hart District Council is looking to invest £275,000 to replace all of its CCTV cameras in the district.

Just six months after the council joined up with Rushmoor Borough Council to build a costly state-of-art control room in Farnborough, Hart is looking to upgrade all of its 49 cameras that are monitored at that facility.

While the cameras are now effectively observed their reliability is a "weakness" in the service, according to John Elson, head of technical services and environmental maintenance at Hart.

Mr Elson said in his report: “If Hart District Council wishes to provide an effective CCTV service then the existing network of cameras needs to be upgraded.

"Many of Hart’s cameras were installed in the 1990s and whilst they still function they have now reached the end of their effective life.

"As a consequence they are becoming increasingly unreliable and difficult to repair due to a lack of spare parts."

He described the proposed upgrade as "cost effective" and would help ensure an "efficient and effective service is provided in future".

As part of the upgrade, cameras would be replaced at a cost of £115,000, coverage would be improved costing an estimated £44,000 and transmission enhanced costing around £87,000.

By replacing existing cameras with high definition cameras, it is hoped that the best available image quality would be delivered. By installing six new cameras at recommended ‘hotspot’ locations, such as at the skateboard park on the Views Meadows in Fleet, it is hoped that there will be better CCTV coverage in the area.

And finally, by changing from a cable network to a combined wireless and cable network, Hart expects to save £23,000 per year.

Mr Elson said: “The main policy justification for the district council to provide CCTV coverage is the community safety benefits CCTV brings.”

Phil Stoneman, who led the launch of Hart and Rushmoor’s new surveillance hub, said CCTV helped prevent and detect crime and disorder, criminal damage and antisocial behaviour.

Mr Stoneman, economic development officer, strategy and communications for Rushmoor, said: “Our very experienced CCTV team monitor proactively, ie they identify suspicious activity or people known to be associated with crime and monitor accordingly.

"They also monitor reactively, ie they are made aware of a recent crime and look out for perpetrators and missing persons.”

Cameras also helped to increase feelings of safety and were an important resource in helping the police and other agencies carry out their work, he added.

The control room based at Rushmoor’s offices in Farnborough Road, monitoring 120 cameras, took three months to create and cost £275,000 to build.

As a result of the partnership, the councils expect to save £50,000 each year in running costs.

Hart’s overview and scrutiny committee examine the district’s camera upgrade proposal at a meeting on Tuesday before the cabinet considers the plans at a meeting on December.