Smile, CCTV is watching you

CRIMINALS are being warned there is nowhere to hide as they travel around Weston as a new big brother will be watching their every move

CRIMINALS are being warned there is nowhere to hide as they travel around Weston as a new big brother will be watching their every move.A massive revamp of the district's CCTV cameras has been carried out at Weston Town Hall, ensuring there are eyes watching offenders everywhere.Cameras are now fitted with state-of-the-art technology which automatically recognises the number plates of stolen cars and cars owned by known criminals, so as soon as they enter the district the council and police are already watching them.There are now 35 cameras covering the town with a total of 63 in the district. They are all monitored 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.An extra four monitors have been installed at the CCTV headquarters along with a new 42inch plasma screen to watch the goings-on of the district.The Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system is a police initiative which matches intelligence gathered about criminals to car number plates, and then the offenders can be followed around Weston and North Somerset.The idea behind the scheme is that most lawbreakers rely on a car to commit crime, so ANPR makes it far more difficult for them to use a vehicle without being detected.When the technology has been introduced in other areas of the country, arrest rates have rocketed. Thames Valley police said arrests rose by nine times when they installed the system.The cameras will photograph a number plate and feed it into sources including the Police National Computer, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and insurance databases.The control room at the Town Hall covers the whole district and has been completely revamped for the first time in 11 years. Old monitors have been replaced with flat screens and specially designed consuls have created extra operating positions during busy periods.


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