CCTV Update from Andy Barge
- Meeting of Economic and Social Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Thursday, 26th May, 2022 6.00 pm (Item 17.)
To receive a verbal update from Andy Barge re CCTV.
That the update be noted.
Andy Barge the Group Manager – Communities, Leadership and Management Team introduced himself to the members and gave a verbal update on the progress on the upgrading the public open space CCTV cameras covering areas of Carterton and Witney, plus the associated monitoring control room arrangements.
Mr Barge introduced the update by giving a brief background:
- Currently 61 cameras - 57 in Witney and 4 in Carterton. First installed in 2002. Upgraded 2009.
- Monitoring currently at Witney police station, with staff employed by TVP and a Service Level Agreement with the Council
- Also monitoring control rooms in Oxford City, Banbury and Abingdon
Mr Barge explained there was a long standing desire for a shared Oxfordshire hub control room. The main benefits being economies of scale from having one control room instead of four, more ‘real time’ monitoring, less lone working, capital investment from Thames Valley Police (TVP) and resilience from fail over to other TVP hubs with the same monitoring equipment.
The disadvantages of a shared monitoring hub are potential loss of local knowledge and a small loss of local employment, depending where the hub is located.
There is £300,000 capital budget for investment in CCTV, subject to business case.
Recently commissioned a camera optimisation piece of work. Technology has moved on so much, questions like have we got the right cameras in the right places needs to be considered, which is supported by crime density mapping and seeing if the scheme can be extended to cover Chipping Norton.
Progress has been hampered for a number of reasons:
· Design and implementation of a TVP shared hub in Buckinghamshire ahead of Oxfordshire;
· Where in Oxfordshire a shared hub could be located, with each of the existing control rooms having a degree of uncertainty over longevity, or not being suitable to host a hub;
· Hub before new cameras – compatibility of cameras and full functionality e.g. AI
· Which Districts wanted to be part of a shared hub, with some having made more recent investment in new equipment. Does the business case stack up for them?
· Cherwell’s first draft budget option to stop its funding for CCTV
Mr Barge concluded in early April, Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner tabled a report to the Police and Crime Panel outlining a new vision for CCTV and bringing fresh impetus to the shared hub.
Vision recognises that CCTV exists primarily for the benefit of policing and the wider interests of community safety. Therefore it is right that policing shoulders the lion share of the responsibility for providing the capability.
The long term vision is for CCTV across Thames Valley to be provided by Thames Valley Police. The Force would own the equipment/contracts, be responsible for maintenance and employ staff to monitor the service. This “single owner” model will help to consolidate technology, drive savings through economies of scale, improve integration with police systems and provide increased resilience.
Under this model district and town councils (and commercial beneficiaries such as shopping centres) will continue to make a financial contribution using an agreed funding formula and as part of the partnership agreement local authorities would allow TVP to use appropriate street furniture for the placement of equipment
TVP has employed a CCTV Operations Manager to drive this forward and the working group next meets later in June to consider a draft outline business case for
Plan B partner with another district or plan C standalone provision.
The Chair asked would the next steps be within this year. Mr Barge confirmed that the outline business case was hoped to be completed by autumn, so that a decision could be made.
Councillor Bull stated that for years Carterton had only 4 camera’s but they were paying just as much as Witney that had far more cameras in place.
Mr Barge confirmed moving forward there would be more transparent funding, proportioned in the right operating module.
Councillor St John enquired about the £300,000, was it still intact, Mr Barge confirmed the capital programme budget remained at £3000.000, and if thames Valley Police take control of the control rooms, the Council should see economies of scale against revenue savings, which will benefit the Council.
Councillor Nicholls asked which partnerships were likely if plan B, Mr Barge confirmed potentially Oxford City or Cherwell as they had invested recently in their own CCTV programme.
Councillor Maynard and Wilson were interested in the number of Cameras that the Council had and where they were. Mr Barge was able to confirm in Witney there were 23 in the town centre, 26 at Marriott’s Walk and 8 in Wallgate.
Councillor Poole asked about crime rates in relation to camera locations. Mr Barge would circulate to the committee members the crime density map after the meeting.
Councillor Pearson enquired if there were camera statistic available in relation to crimes in the area. Mr Barge said the Police statistics were on number of incidents not CCTV camera or even body cameras that Police wore.
The Chair thanked MR Barge for the update and looked forward to the programme moving forward.