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Big brother will be watching you 24/7
9:00pm Friday 8th March 2013 in News
CCTV cameras are to be linked up across the town centre as part of a £100,000 project to combat crime and disorder.
Swindon Council intends to use a 4G network to connect the council’s 78 cameras in car parks, plus another five to be installed covering Commercial Road, Canal Walk and Regent Street, with 10 privately-owned cameras at The Parade, eight at Zurich UK Life Centre and eight at the Brunel Centre.
The CCTV images from most sites will be transmitted back in real time, 24/7, to the Swindon Commercial Services Limited control room at Waterside Park, at Rodbourne Cheney Industrial Estate, which already monitors cameras on housing estates.
Staff will be able to monitor the images from the Brunel cameras when the centre is closed but will have to request to access the Zurich images if there is an incident around the Tri Centre area.
Phil Thomas, Swindon Council’s head of public protection and StreetSmart, said the aim was to proactively monitor crime and disorder within the town centre, to aid crowd safety during large events and to manage and direct emergency services in the event of a major incident.
He said: “We could install a new CCTV network right through the town centre but that would cost a lot of money and we would have to install a lot of cameras.
“What we’ve come up with is an agreement to use CCTV that’s in the town centre and that means tapping into privately-owned CCTV and monitoring what’s going on and taking over these CCTV cameras at times when we want to.
“All we’ve had to do is install an additional five more cameras and what we’ve got actually is pretty good coverage across the town centre that we can tap into. We’ve bought the kit, we’ve got the infrastructure. All we’re doing is waiting for permission on the buildings and then we can do installation.”
The CCTV strategy is a partnership between Swindon Council, Wiltshire Police, Swindon Community Safety Partnership, SCS and the town centre management firm InSwindon.
Swindon Council is funding the £100,000 capital cost, and work is due to be completed in the spring. SCS will run the scheme free-of-charge for the first year but thereafter the estimated £30,000 monitoring cost is proposed to be split equally between Swindon Council, Wiltshire Police and InSwindon.
The CCTV strategy currently only covers the Business Improvement District area, but the plan is to extend this to Old Town once funding has been identified.
Chairman Brian Ford (Con Wroughton and Wichelstowe) He said: “Now we’re down to £100,000, probably with the technology coming up as it is, we’re maybe able to get it elsewhere for a lot cheaper.”