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Friday, 31 October 2014

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£1m plan for more CCTV in county towns

A NEW £1m Cumbria-wide CCTV network is poised to get the go-ahead.

The county’s crime commissioner, Richard Rhodes, is being asked by police chiefs to give the thumbs-up to a plan which would see a 54-camera system monitored by the force set up in major towns. Eight cameras would be in Whitehaven.

A report to a top-level meeting discussing the idea reveals the costs involved and the breakdown of how the network would operate.

It shows Carlisle would be the area receiving the highest number of cameras, with 15 being placed in the city. Barrow is poised to get 12, while a patch covering Workington and Maryport would receive a total of nine. Kendal would get seven and Penrith three.

Start-up costs are estimated to reach £998,000. Nearly £540,000 has come through a grant while the rest is set to be split between the office of the crime commissioner and the six district councils.

The system could be extended if future cash sources are found. Police will be responsible for the running costs.

The move is a dramatic new development for a service that was up to now run by local authorities and came under threat in the wake of cash cuts. It has been under discussion for some months.

The new system was set to get the official go-ahead at a meeting of Mr Rhodes’ executive board yesterday.

A report to the board, which includes police chiefs, states: “Monitored open space CCTV is no longer sustainable by the six district councils of Cumbria.

“Following discussions and negotiations led by the office of the police and crime commissioner, the constabulary is now in a position to propose a sustainable countywide system monitored by police staff.

“This system will continue the contribution that CCTV makes to public safety and law enforcement but with added benefits from new technology and processes.”

The report adds: “CCTV has played a crucial role in delivering a safe and secure environment.

“It supports crime prevention during the day as well as reducing incidents of anti-social behaviour, crime and disorder in the evening.”

The force says “the value of images cannot be overstated”, but adds: “It is not CCTV technology itself that can achieve objectives but rather the implementation, management and operation of the system.”

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