A new state-of-the-art CCTV control room which allows officers to monitor footage from across Peterborough and Fenland has been launched
The monitoring of Fenland's 75 CCTV cameras will be carried out from a state-of-the-art control based at least 25 miles away in Peterborough.
A new shared service control room in the city centre which allows officers to monitor footage from across Peterborough and Fenland has been launched this week.
It provides a dedicated environment to accommodate both the district's and the city council's CCTV services, which merged fully at the end of last year following a decision by Fenland Council over the future monitoring of its cameras last January.
The decision, which was agreed by all but three councillors when it was voted on, was part of a £78,000 cost cutting measure.
However, the merger, exclusively revealed in the Citizen in November 2018, sparked public outcry with many questioning how someone based in Peterborough would have the local knowledge needed to monitor Fenland's cameras efficiently.
There was also concern when it was revealed only one operator would be looking after both sets of cameras most the time. Fenland has 75 across its towns and villages, but it is unclear how many Peterborough City Council has. Two operators would be on duty at 'peak times'.
A report to last January's meeting set out the thinking behind the merger, and said both councils have common interests and issues with the service including the need to cut costs and try to increase income for what is a non-statutory service.
It said the biggest cost is staffing/technology and points out all Fenland's cameras will need upgrading from analogue to digital within the next couple of years.
The report added: "Therefore a service redesign has been undertaken to see what the potential is for a shared service."
Now the two councils have announced the opening of the new control room, which consists of a fully digital video wall made up of 12 large LED screens, with three dedicated operator workstations consisting of a further nine screens.
It provides a dedicated workspace for Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s CCTV liaison officer, who works alongside the CCTV team completing retrospective media reviews and evidence provision.
The control room also includes the connected CCTV customers that were under the operation and management by each council area.
Both councils have invested in CCTV, with each authority funding a full camera and recording server replacement and upgrade to ensure that the continued provision of CCTV within Peterborough and Fenland provides high quality images and recordings.
Councillor Susan Wallwork, Fenland District Council’s portfolio holder for communities, said: “This excellent new facility will be a vital tool in our joint efforts with police to ensure our communities are kept safe and secure. With faster, digital technology, it will provide an even more effective and efficient service and offer real benefits to our residents, local businesses and visitors.”
Councillor Irene Walsh, Peterborough City Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “This vital work will support the detection and reduction of crime and disorder, as well as reducing the fear of crime within our camera zones.
“The merger of CCTV services for both Fenland and Peterborough will also help deliver operational savings for each authority, whilst delivering improved services to local communities and customers.”
More by this authorSarah Cliss