Sharper cameras to catch more criminals

PUBLISHED: 08:00 04 August 2014

Archant

CRIMINALS could soon find it even harder to get away with their misdemeanours as community leaders look to install better CCTV cameras across the district.

North Somerset Council is carrying out a review of its CCTV control room service, based at Weston Town Hall, in a bid to establish the value of the service but also cut costs.

As part of this, councillors on the authority’s community and corporate organisation policy and scrutiny panel have been investigating how to make CCTV across the district more efficient and effective.

Ideas include introducing new technology which would allow smaller, modern cameras to be attached to lampposts in known problem spots across North Somerset, where antisocial behaviour, speeding or other criminal activity is common.

Cllr David Pasley, panel chairman, said: “We are aiming to improve the quality of the cameras and are looking at 4G technology and smaller cameras, about the size of a mobile phone, which can simply be attached to lampposts.

“They give an amazing sharpness and have great zooming ability.

“They can also automatically recognise car number plates.

“Chief Superintendent Cohen says that in the Avon and Somerset Constabulary area North Somerset provides the gold standard of CCTV.

“The police don’t pay any part toward it but on their own admission rely on it quite heavily.

“We are considering whether we can fully justify asking for a contribution from the police toward the service.

“We have also got to be more commercially minded.

“For example, some of the cameras overlook commercial properties so perhaps we could generate some income by offering a security service to businesses who might want that kind of reassurance.”

Towns and villages will also be asked where they would like any new cameras positioned and more efforts will be put into ensuring cameras in existing locations are not obscured by overgrown trees and vegetation.

The panel is expected to confirm its final recommendation in the autumn before it is then put to North Somerset Council’s executive committee for consideration.

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