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New CCTV centre opens

A new CCTV centre has opened in Dorchester to improve safety.

Dorset Council along with Dorset Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset have worked together to deliver the new £375,000 control room, which will help prevent, detect and reduce crime, as well as improve traffic management.

The new centre features upgraded technology, including new digital radio systems, touchscreen control panels, interactive mapping software, upgraded monitors and better facilities for reviewing footage.     

Representatives from Dorset Council and Dorset Police visited the new centre on Tuesday (16 July) to see it in action. Those visiting included Cllr Tony Alford, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Customer, Community and Regulatory Services, Cllr Ray Bryan, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner and Superintendent Caroline Naughton from Dorset Police.

Cllr Carr-Jones said: “It is an impressive facility with better technology that will improve public safety. It’s a good example of public services pulling together efficiently to deliver improvements.”

Superintendent Caroline Naughton of Dorset Police said: “This is a fantastic example of all partners involved in community safety coming together to develop a CCTV system that is fit for purpose and meets all of our needs.  CCTV systems are vital for the prevention, detection and prosecution of crime and I am pleased that Dorset is now at the forefront of using the latest technology.”

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “This represents a crucial modernisation of Dorset’s CCTV infrastructure and I am confident this important investment will enable agencies including the police and council to work more closely together to help keep people across the county safe.

“This state of the art centre will hopefully expand to enable other areas of Dorset to benefit from this innovation in the future.”

The digital radio system in the new control room can link to council staff on patrol including Weymouth beach staff, parking officers and uniformed patrol officers who tackle anti-social behaviour under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme. It also links direct to Shop Watch, Pub Watch and Taxi Watch schemes. This means shopkeepers, publicans and taxi drivers can contact the CCTV control room direct. The control room is also connected directly to the police via the emergency services Airwave radio system.

The cameras also help to monitor traffic, dealing with any problems and supporting safe travel across the network. This is particularly useful during special events such as Weymouth Carnival, Weymouth IRONMAN 70.3 and the veterans’ parade.

The Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office contributed £263,000 to the project, while Dorset Council contributed £110,000. Apart from the Highways cameras, which operate across Dorset, the CCTV centre currently covers Bridport, Dorchester and Weymouth. Other parts of Dorset have separate CCTV systems, operated either privately or by town councils. The new centre could be expanded in the future to cover other parts of the county.      

The operation of the CCTV centre is carefully managed and is governed by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner.

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