A new multi-million pound CCTV control centre has opened in Stoke-on-Trent to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour throughout the city.
The new CCTV control room is part of a £4.98 million investment from the City Council in a new data centre. Officially launched in August, the control room replaces the city’s former monitoring unit.
It features a range of cutting edge high-definition screens, remote controlled cameras and radio equipment. Staff can access a network of 258 cameras throughout the city, with cameras positioned in train and bus stations, town centres and shopping parades as well as on major roads to monitor traffic.
The control centre boasts 12 large wall-mounted screens that can each show views from up to nine cameras at once. That means a total of 108 cameras can be displayed at any one time.
Staff will man the control centre 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There is 10 operational staff, with two on duty at any one time. Each workstation has four computer monitors, a radio to the police control centre and a joystick to manoeuvre any of the 258 cameras. CCTV operators are also able to talk directly to the public, using speakers that are mounted on the cameras.
The network of cameras is designed to monitor traffic, prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, and to help catch criminals. On top of this there are also a further 18 rapid deployment cameras, which can be quickly stationed at crime hotspots to transmit footage across the 3G network.
The new CCTV command centre is part of a large investment from the City Council to improve customer service, community safety and essential back-up services. City leaders claim it will help the fight against crime and boost public perception of safety across Stoke.
Cllr Mohammed Pervez, Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said tackling crime and anti-social behaviour forms an “essential” part of the Council’s plans to promote the city as a great place to live and do business.
“This excellent new facility, which combines the experience and know-how of our staff with the very latest technology, will be a vital tool in our joint efforts with the police to make our city safer. It will provide real benefits for our residents and local businesses,” he said.
“For many years our CCTV equipment and staff have done an unsung job in keeping a watchful eye over the busiest parts of Stoke-on-Trent and feeding vital information and evidence to the police to carry out their work.
“This important investment will provide a faster, more agile and even more effective service as we work to make our communities safer for local people.”
Cllr Ruth Rosenau, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transportation, with responsibility for the CCTV operations, added: “The centre and technology in it has all been designed specially to help our efforts to make Stoke-on-Trent safer.
“All footage is now stored digitally, so if we get a report of an incident or potential crime, our operators can switch to the relevant camera, rewind and see what happened within seconds, before relaying that information to colleagues at the police.
“Our priorities change over the course of the day, from monitoring traffic during rush hour, working with a network of over 200 store detectives throughout the day, before supporting pubs, clubs and the wider nightime economy after dark.
“It is all geared to one purpose – to make Stoke-on-Trent a safer city.”