A new era for safety in Calderdale as CCTV cameras are upgraded

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New CCTV cameras that provide clearer images and use less power have been officially launched in Calderdale as part of a £680,000 upgrade.

On Friday, Calderdale Council, West Yorkshire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Mark Burns-Williamson, formally marked the start of a new era for community safety during a visit to Calderdale Council’s CCTV monitoring centre, where they saw the new equipment in action.

The Council monitors 64 CCTV cameras in town centres across the borough, 24/7, 365 days a year.

All of these cameras and the monitoring screens have been replaced with modern, high definition equipment. This provides higher quality pictures, improved night vision, better recording and the ability to zoom into fine detail.

The upgrade came after the council’s Cabinet approved funding as the previous system was installed in the mid-1990s and was outdated. Updates in technology since then mean that the new equipment costs less to run and uses less energy.

The new system is provided by BT Redcare Surveillance through the Council’s contract with Virgin Media Business, who are the single supplier for networks and associated services under the Yorkshire and Humber Public Services Network Framework.

The upgrade is the latest step in the continued joint work of Calderdale Community Safety Partnership to keep people safe. 
The partnership consists of Calderdale Council, West Yorkshire Police, Pennine Housing, NHS Calderdale, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, West Yorkshire Probation Service, the Hospital Trust and North Bank Forum. 
CCTV is a key tool used by these organisations to detect and prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, and in 2014 helped to make over 220 arrests. CCTV also plays many other important roles, such as protecting iconic sites, parking enforcement, helping to find missing people, monitoring river levels, managing big events and preventing suicides.

Councillor Steve Sweeney, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said:“I’m extremely pleased with the upgraded equipment. This is an important investment as CCTV plays a vital role in keeping people safe.

“Community safety is a joint effort between the Council and other organisations. We can now achieve this more effectively, reduce the ongoing cost to local taxpayers and be more environmentally friendly.

“In Calderdale we’re bucking the trend by keeping our public space cameras switched on every hour of every day. The cameras are always monitored by people, meaning we don’t just rely on recordings - so the Council and other agencies can respond immediately to anything of concern.”

Chief Superintendent Dickie Whitehead added: “CCTV is an important tool for the police, assisting us to detect many kinds of offences where they may occur. The new system will further assist us in our work to detect and solve crime, protect the most vulnerable in our communities, and aid us and our partners in making Calderdale and safe place to live, work and bring up families.”

The Council’s experienced CCTV operators also monitor two town centre based shop-watch radio systems and work with licensed premises to keep people safe at night. This is one reason why Halifax is a Purple Flag town. CCTV in parks has also contributed to Calderdale’s numerous Green Flag awards.