The primary aim of CCTV is to fulfil the Council’s commitment to provide for a safe and secure environment for the benefit of those who might visit, work, or live in the area.
CCTV first made an appearance at the Charlotte Street Car Park in 1992 when 12 cameras were installed and monitored locally. In November 1995 the CCTV facility was extended into Bath City Centre with the installation of another 17 cameras and the introduction of a 24hr CCTV Control Room located in the Guildhall.
Development over the last 8 years in partnership with Bath & North East Somerset, Town Council’s, Police, Local Business, CCTV Operators and the Community, has allowed the scheme to expand into Keynsham, Midsomer Norton, and Radstock.
Development and growth of the CCTV system over a period of time has resulted in the public confidence growing each year. New extensions to the scheme have been overwhelmingly supported. Annual year on year surveys show that the CCTV system provides a high standard of customer and stakeholder satisfaction.
There are currently 103 high resolution colour pan, tilt and zoom cameras, located in Radstock (6), Midsomer Norton (10), Keynsham (12), and Bath (75). They cover public areas and car parks. They are directly linked to a Central Control Room in Bath, where highly trained operators ensure that their use is as effective as possible. Pictures are recorded on a multiplex system. Incidents seen by the operators are recorded on a separate spot monitor, viewing and recording facility. Video evidence may be made instantly available to the Police if required.
24 Hour Control Room
The 24 hour operational centre is the heart of the system, with 24 TV monitors showing quad pictures from 103 cameras in and around Bath City Centre, Charlotte Street Car Park, Keynsham, Radstock, Midsomer Norton, plus the Park and Ride sites at Newbridge and Lansdown. All cameras are able to be programmed to carry out automatic tours to pre-set positions. When an incident is spotted, operators are able to take manual control of individual cameras by joystick.
All picture images from strategically positioned fully functional colour covert cameras are transmitted by fibre-optic cables and microwave links in real time, and recorded 24hrs a day from multiplexed pictures onto DVR's, which are retained for a maximum of 31 days.
The CCTV system will only be used to:
- Enhance community safety
- Reduce crime and the fear of crime
- Deter anti-social behaviour, all within the bounds of an approved Code of Practice. The Data Protection Act 1998, The Human Rights Act 1998, and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 also serve to protect the rights of the general public.
The Benefit to the Community
- Instant picture information to the Police
- The Police are able to target their resources better.
- Cameras deter crime
- Detection / Identification and quicker apprehension of suspects
- Prevention of incidents before they begin
- Instant assistance with accidents /people taken ill / collapsed etc
- Quicker and more effective for finding lost or wanted people.
Working in Partnership
During the period between September 2011 and August 2012 there were 716 requests from the Police to view recorded material for incidents. The Council Licensing Team also make use of the facilities of the CCTV Control Room while ensuring that correct access procedures were observed. The CCTV Control Room in total have recorded 2931 incidents, those reported to the Police resulted in 598 arrests between September 2011 and August 2012.
Bath and North East Somerset have a completely open policy on the use of CCTV within the Authorities boundaries. All areas where the cameras are in use are clearly signed so that members of the public entering the CCTV areas of operation are made aware of their presence. This is in keeping with the Data Protection guidelines, as is the rights of subject access as provided for in section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998.