All-see­ing eyes help crack­down on crime

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ jamie.lopez@reach­plc.com @jamie_lopez1

STREET CCTV cam­eras op­er­ated by West Lan­cashire Bor­ough Coun­cil helped po­lice ar­rest 236 sus­pects last year.

The coun­cil’s an­nual CCTV re­port re­vealed that staff dealt with 5,633 in­ci­dents dur­ing 2017/18 – more than 100 each week.

The coun­cil op­er­ates 106 “com­mu­nity cam­eras” around the bor­ough, which are mon­i­tored by staff from a con­tracted firm 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

In the an­nual re­port, the coun­cil says it has as­sisted in 405 miss­ing per­son searches and ob­served more than 700 cash in tran­sit de­liv­er­ies. CCTV op­er­a­tors also iden­ti­fied 1,634 in­ci­dents through gen­eral mon­i­tor­ing.

The cam­eras are in place for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons but pri­mar­ily for the pre­ven­tion of crime and dis­or­der.

Sev­eral in Skelmers­dale were in­stalled di­rectly in re­sponse to anti-so­cial be­hav­iour, while some were placed in ar­eas in­clud­ing Burscough to fight theft.

Oth­ers are placed in key traf­fic routes to as­sist in searches for peo­ple in­volved in crime.

The cam­eras are mostly grouped in Orm­skirk town cen­tre, Burscough In­dus­trial Es­tate, Burscough Vil­lage and Skelmers­dale. They are also used in­side the coun­cil’s of­fices and in ru­ral ar­eas in­clud­ing Aughton, Par­bold, Hes­keth Bank, Tar­leton, Banks, Ruf­ford, Scaris­brick, Hal­sall, Mere Brow and Down­hol­land.

Port­fo­lio holder for health and com­mu­nity safety, Cllr Kevin Wright said: “The re­port out­lines the tremen­dous work that goes on with our CCTV op­er­a­tors in part­ner­ship with the po­lice.

“Their ex­pe­ri­ence and close work­ing re­la­tion­ship with the po­lice helps to en­sure we achieve great re­sults from our sys­tem.

“These cam­eras have helped com­bat crime and to re­duce the fear of crime within our com­mu­ni­ties.”

In 2016, the coun­cil’s CCTV sys­tem was awarded a fiveyear cer­tifi­cate of com­pli­ance by the Surveil­lance Cam­era Com­mis­sioner, show­ing that the coun­cil’s CCTV sys­tem is man­aged ap­pro­pri­ately and that in­for­ma­tion from the cam­eras is used in an ap­pro­pri­ate man­ner.

One of the is­sues the coun­cil must con­sider is the pri­vacy of pri­vate res­i­dents and the soft­ware used al­lows for parts of the CCTV im­age to be com­pletely blanked out.

The coun­cils says there are sev­eral ex­ist­ing cam­eras where pri­vacy set­tings are in­stalled to com­pletely blank out win­dows or whole houses so that res­i­dents’ pri­vacy is en­sured.

Ring­tail Re­tail Park, Burscough

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