Big Brother Just Got Bigger

Council launches new CCTV control room to ensure 'unprecedented coverage'


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A brand new community safety CCTV control room goes live this week, meaning up to 200 cameras across the Borough can now be monitored from one place.

The new system will be shared by Hounslow Council and police, and will bring together their existing individual CCTV systems to ensure 'unprecedented coverage'.

Cllr Peter Thompson, leader of the council, said, "People consistently tell us they want more CCTV to make them feel safer on the borough’s streets. But we don’t just want to put in more cameras for the sake of it, they have to be put where they’re needed, and those that are already in place need to work better.

"People assume that just because there is a camera, the police can see what's going on, but that isn't the case at all. Different organisations have different cameras, and in the past these haven't been shared as well as they could."

He added, "It's not just about more cameras - it's about improving what we have already, having better systems in place to meet people's expectations and filling in the gaps where evidence shows we need them."

Cllr Paul Fisher, lead member for community safety at the council, said, "Thanks to our investment of £1.8 million we have a real integration of CCTV across the borough. This includes sharing cameras with Transport for London to help deliver real benefits for local residents and businesses."

Although the council are hailing the 'innovative' development, there are those who view the cameras as an invasion of privacy and quite a few more who feel the additional cameras will be used as an added resource for issuing PCNs to motorists.

Whatever their function, the control room is one of the first steps in a scheme to roll out more CCTV across the borough. The cameras are being sited at hotspots based on intelligence from a number of agencies including the council, police, and fire service.

The purpose-built community safety control room will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Specially trained operators will be able to pan, tilt and zoom the cameras and police will be able to take full control if an incident occurs that they need to monitor.

New cameras are already operational in Hounslow town centre, and more will be rolled out across the rest of the borough over the coming months.

December 16, 2009