Plans have been drawn up to renew CCTV provision in Newcastle town centre, with half of the project’s funding coming from Newcastle-under-Lyme Business Improvement District (BID).
The BID has been working closely with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council on this project, and the council’s Cabinet is now considering recommendations for a significant system upgrade, including new state-of-the-art cameras and live monitoring arrangements, which would result in quicker responses to incidents and more effective surveillance, with the potential for further expansion in the future.
A review of the current system – which was last overhauled in 2007 – has been carried out by the Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Business Improvement District (BID) and Staffordshire Police to examine its capacity, limitations and opportunities for future development.
A total of 18 cameras, situated in keys areas of the town centre, operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year but the majority are now coming towards the end of their working lives. Live surveillance is provided by a combination of paid professionals, accredited by the Security Industry Authority, and trained volunteers at strategic times.
The preferred way forward involves providing a specialised service from a central location, with a direct link to Safenet and police radio networks, via Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s existing operation. Under the proposals, 18 cameras would be replaced, with another four installed, in addition to new equipment at the Council’s Midway car park. The £80,000 capital investment would be met by the Council (£28,000), Newcastle Business Improvement District (£40,000) and Section 106 funding (£12,000).
Other options considered included keeping the existing system, removing it or an upgrade without any monitoring.
Cllr. Simon Tagg, Leader of the Council, said: “Delivering effective CCTV contributes to meeting the Council’s corporate priorities of a healthy, active and safe borough and a town centre for all. CCTV is a valuable weapon in the fight against crime and fear of crime. It gives the public reassurance that they can go about their business with confidence, provides businesses with added security and sends a clear message that those involved in crime or anti-social behaviour will be caught and prosecuted. It also attracts investment.
“This is part of a sustained agenda by the Council and its partners to improve Newcastle town centre. There isn’t a statutory duty for councils to provide CCTV but we’re keen to support the operation of an effective, local system because there are many benefits. The review highlighted that although the current network has worked well over the past 20 years, there is now an excellent opportunity to share a more effective, modern and sustainable operation.
“I welcome the BID joining the Borough Council in partnership to provide better CCTV for our town centre.”
Major capital investment
Amy Williams, Newcastle-under-Lyme BID manager, said: “The BID has been working very closely with the Council on this project. The issues of crime and anti-social behaviour are of concern to our businesses and the public. We consulted with our levy-paying businesses and they are overwhelmingly in support of the BID making this major capital investment into CCTV to enable this project to go forward.”
Cabinet meets on Wednesday 4 September to discuss the plans. If they’re supported, a survey of camera locations will be carried out.