Case Studies

CCTV round-up

by Mark Rowe

A first phase of a Thames Valley CCTV partnership has seen the transfer of ownership of Milton Keynes’ public space CCTV from its city council, and Slough Borough Council’s, to Thames Valley Police. Slough’s CCTV monitoring room has been shut and work relocated to a Milton Keynes Command Suite, where the police employ eight CCTV Operators and one Supervisor.

Thames Valley PCC (police and crime commissioner) Matthew Barber promised commitment and investment to enable ‘high quality, consistent and sustainable CCTV provision which will help keep our communities safe’. He said “CCTV is an important part of community safety; benefitting policing and local communities in helping to deter crime and anti-social behaviour, identify offenders and support prosecutions.

Since going live in January an upgrade of equipment and increase in CCTV operators was enabling the police to intervene in serious crimes as they are committed, he added.

Milton Keynes now has 64 cameras and Slough 140.

Supt Felicity Parker, Head of Policing Strategy Unit at Thames Valley Police said: “This partnership brings significant benefits, with upgraded CCTV and enhanced management enabling us to capitalise on reducing crime in Milton Keynes and Slough.

“Increased staffing and the use of technology to identify hot spots will support work to prevent crime and increase people’s feelings of safety in our public spaces. In addition, the new digital camera definition provides us clearer footage to better investigate opportunities to pursue offenders.

“We are excited about the opportunities the partnership brings us in Thames Valley Police, with the potential to develop further capabilities in the future. In Milton Keynes, our CCTV suite is located next to our control room in the police station, allowing for increased collaboration across teams when a crime is taking place. More widely, we will have improved capability to share CCTV with operational colleagues across departments in the force to reduce crime.”

Milton Keynes councillor and Cabinet Member for Public Realm, Jennifer Wilson-Marklew said: “We’re happy to be making further investments in CCTV which will go a long way in making people feel safe and deterring offenders. Our £250,000 investment in this project is part of our wider commitment to work with partners to keep our streets safe.”

Phase two is in Oxfordshire where four control centres will merge into one ‘hub’. Cherwell council’s covering Banbury for example is already monitored by the police at Banbury police station. Police say staffing levels will be matched for Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes hubs and the technologies used will be mirrored to enable a link up between systems.

Thames Valley Police also cover Buckinghamshire (which separates Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire) and Berkshire (pictured, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council on-street camera); the force says it continues to support councils who have not yet joined the partnership.

In Hampshire, New Forest District Council with Fordingbridge Town Council is running a four-week trial of a 4G CCTV camera in Fordingbridge. The district and town council are holding an event to update on the test, on Thursday, February 22 at 6pm in Fordingbridge Town Hall.

Dan Poole, Portfolio Holder for Community, Safety and Wellbeing at New Forest, said: “The trial of new CCTV camera technology in Fordingbridge marks a significant step forward in our efforts to continue maintaining a secure environment for our community, fostering a sense of confidence and wellbeing for all our residents.”

New Forest says that Fordingbridge was selected for the trial as it doesn’t have any public space CCTV. If the trial goes well, the district council says it will look to expand the CCTV network across other areas that do not have cameras, notably Fawley, Brockenhurst and Bransgore. A £300,000 spend on expanding the district’s CCTV includes money from the Home Office Safer Streets Fund.

Locations of New Forest CCTV sites can be found at

A typical use of CCTV by rural and urban councils alike is to tackle fly-tipping. In Scotland, West Lothian Council is rolling out mobile CCTV cameras against waste dumping. The council believes that the vast majority of fly tipping is commercial – large amounts of tyres, builders rubble and discarded bathrooms; rather than by households.

The cameras will be mounted at various known fly tipping hot spots; such as, at Birdsmill off the A89 at the railway viaduct on the border between West Lothian and Edinburgh.

Executive councillor for environment Tom Conn with operatives from the council’s Cleaner Communities Team visited. He said: “It is clear to see that sadly there are those with no regard for our local environment who think that the dumping of waste is acceptable. Fly tipping and littering are both equally unacceptable and cannot be tolerated under any circumstance. These new cameras will be deployed in known areas of concern and will act both as a deterrent to those who are contemplating fly tipping and will help the evidence gathering process to help prosecute those who break the law.”

“I was disappointed with the fly tipping dumped at Birdsmill which was a mixture of commercial builders’ rubble, and tyres which the council doesn’t collect at our Community Recycling Centre sites. Businesses will be well aware of the options available to them to dispose of these items appropriately and their legal responsibility to do so. It was also disappointing to see a large amount of discarded soft drink cans and bottles which can be recycled in households’ green bins. We need to stop making excuses for those who desecrate our countryside and point the finger at those who make a fast buck which council taxpayers then have to pay to clear up their mess.”

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