Watchful eyes

PUBLISHED: 11:23 02 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:08 06 May 2010

The new control room in Daneshill House

The new control room in Daneshill House

THE long arm of the law has now become even longer with the expansion of CCTV cameras across Comet country. Hertfordshire CCTV Partnership has launched a new technology-packed control room in Daneshill House, Danestrete, Stevenage, which now features seve

THE long arm of the law has now become even longer with the expansion of CCTV cameras across Comet country.

Hertfordshire CCTV Partnership has launched a new technology-packed control room in Daneshill House, Danestrete, Stevenage, which now features seven operator stations, 32 flat screens - including a 42 inch incident monitor - a new digital recording and playback system and radio links to police units.

From the beginning of 2007, the control room will monitor 206 cameras in nine towns, including: Stevenage, Letchworth, Hitchin, Baldock and Knebworth.

The majority are "point, tilt and zoom" cameras (166) with eight Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, 12 broadband cameras and 20 mobile wireless cameras.

Executive councillor for community safety, Bob Clark, said: "We now have the most technically advanced CCTV control room in Britain.

"This, coupled with our existing close cooperation with the police, will make our communities even safer places to live, work and visit."

He added: "We now deal with volumes of evidence beyond anything we imagined, with incidents as diverse as lost children, debit card fraud, rapes and robberies."

Images from all cameras are recorded at six frames a second and monitored in the control room, which is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Police can access recorded footage from any camera and two officers work full time, reviewing and producing evidence for prosecutions.

For the first six months of 2006, performance figures show CCTV operators observed 590 incidents, resulting in 206 arrests in Stevenage town centre, compared with 788 recorded incidents and 198 related arrests for the same period of 2005.

In the same six months in Letchworth, 217 incidents were recorded and 35 arrests subsequently made, compared with 292 incidents and 29 arrests in 2005.

In Hitchin, 339 recorded incidents resulted in 73 arrests in the first six months of 2006, compared with 361 recorded incidents and 39 subsequent arrests in the same period of 2005.

And in Baldock, 58 recorded incidents resulted in 19 arrests in the first six months of 2006, compared with 101 incidents and 10 arrests in the same six-month period of 2005.

# A CCTV system has been installed at Stevenage household waste and recycling centre.

Hertfordshire County Council's assistant waste manager, Mark Simpkins, said: "The monitoring system has proved invaluable.

"We use it to analyse trends by monitoring who is using the centre, what is being thrown away and how often.

"They also act as a good deterrent to anyone abusing council employees or the centre itself.

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