28 January 2009>
CCTV is often called the "eye in the sky", but now some of these valuable crime-fighting cameras have a voice too!
As part of a pilot scheme for the Caerphilly county borough, special "talking" CCTV cameras have been installed in Blackwood town centre to aid the Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership in their ongoing efforts to further cut crime and anti-social behaviour in the area.
Three cameras, which allow operators to speak through a built in microphone, have been placed along Blackwood High Street and in the main car park. The talking cameras provide an additional boost to the existing CCTV network that has been operating successfully across the county borough for a number of years.
Cabinet member for the environment, Cllr Lyn Ackerman said, "This excellent new scheme increases the effectiveness of town centre cameras because it allows our CCTV camera operators to intervene and let offenders know that their anti social behaviour has been spotted and is being recorded.
In many cases, this is enough to stop the offending behaviour, which in turn results in safer and tidier streets."
The initiative is part of the governments "Respect" agenda and aims to add a further dimension to CCTV monitoring and enforcement across the country.
Pilot studies in other parts of the country have shown that making announcements via the cameras can help prevent low-level petty crime and anti-social behaviour by simply warning members of the public that CCTV is active, recording and the police may be called.
Within the car park, the cameras could also be used to alert nuisance "car cruisers" that CCTV is monitoring and any offences will be passed to the police, along with the registration number of the vehicle.
The system, along with all CCTV equipment, is dedicated solely for law enforcement and public safety and at no time will the equipment be used for any other purpose.
Community Safety Manager, Howard Rees said, "These brand new "talking" CCTV cameras are aimed at the very small minority of people, who think it is acceptable to litter our streets, vandalise our communities and damage our properties.
The new equipment will make an important contribution in reminding people what is, and is not acceptable behaviour. The success of the scheme in other parts of the country has shown us that this technology is a successful additional tool in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour in our communities."
Leader of council, Cllr Lindsay Whittle said, "We are confident this brand new "talking" CCTV will act as a wake-up call for those who blight our communities and also reassure the responsible majority that unacceptable behaviour will not go unnoticed.
As a forward thinking county borough, we are always eager to try out new initiatives, and our status as a Neighbourhood Crime and Justice pioneer area gives us the impetus to build on the good work that's already underway to tackle crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour in our communities."
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