Colchester CCTV set for overhaul

A MASSIVE overhaul of CCTV in Colchester looks set to be undertaken in a bid to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.Colchester Council is looking to spend £250k on the transformation which will replace the existing analogue system in the town centre with a new modern digital network.

The high definition cameras could also extend beyond the town centre and include other crucial areas like Castle Park and Northern Gateway.At the moment, the cameras cover more than 100 locations and are monitored day and night by a team of operators from Colchester Amphora Trading – a commercial arm of the council.If plans for the new system are agreed by cabinet next week, Amphora Trading would continue to operate the new system utilising ultrafast fibre infrastructure being rolled out in the town following a successful £3.45m bid from the Government’s Local Full Fibre Network Fund.

Last year, more than 100 people were arrested as a direct result of the existing CCTV system.However, the quality of the images can be poor and there are blindspots.Rough sleeper Carl Hopkins was stabbed to death in a walkway nicknamed Graffiti Alley off Ryegate Road in February by a drug dealer he and his pals had planned to rob.

The area is a popular place for illicit behaviour because there is no camera coverage.No footage of the incident was available to the police because of the lack of CCTV.A teenage boy was cleared of murder after convincing the jury he was acting in self defence.

The council’s commercial services boss Theresa Higgins (Lib Dem) said she accepted the cameras may divide people.“We are committed to investing in our town centre, to make it a safer and even more welcoming place where people feel comfortable to shop and enjoy their leisure time,” she said.

“Our ongoing work to deliver ultrafast broadband across the borough will enable us to deliver new state-of-the-art digital CCTV more economically than would have otherwise been possible.“We know our current analogue cameras are coming to the end of their life span and don’t always provide clear enough images to help the police with prosecutions.

“If approved, the new digital system will play a key role in helping to reduce crime and the fear of crime across the town centre and other locations in the borough not yet served by existing CCTV.“We recognise that CCTV can divide opinion, but residents and visitors should be reassured that we will continue to adhere strictly to the codes of practice that regulate public surveillance, to help prevent and detect crime and antisocial behaviour, protect vulnerable individuals and promote social and economic wellbeing, which are so important for any successful and thriving community.”

Special Thanks to Gazette News for their Article-

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