Milton Keynes and Slough are the first areas in the Thames Valley to benefit from improved CCTV provision to help deter and detect crime
The Thames Valley CCTV partnership is being led by PCC (Police & Crime Commissioner) Matthew Barber in collaboration with local authority partners and Thames Valley Police to deliver an improved, sustainable provision for CCTV across the Thames Valley to help detect and deter crime and keep the public safe.
The launch of the first phase of the partnership has seen the transfer of ownership of CCTV from Milton Keynes City Council and Slough Borough Council to Thames Valley Police with significant investment from the PCC and funding from Local Authority partners to enhance the CCTV provision in both areas.
Matthew Barber said “CCTV is an important part of community safety; benefitting policing and local communities in helping to deter crime and antisocial behaviour, identify offenders and support prosecutions.
“I am pleased to be able to build on our partnerships with local councils to launch the first phase of the programme in Milton Keynes and Slough. Ongoing commitment and investment will enable high quality, consistent and sustainable CCTV provision now and into the future which will help keep our communities safe.
“Since going live earlier this month we are already seeing the benefits of this investment with the upgrade of equipment and increase in CCTV operators enabling the police to intervene in serious crimes as they are being committed.”
The programme will see all public space CCTV cameras in Milton Keynes and the majority in Slough upgraded from an analogue to a digital system with an increase in cameras to 64 in Milton Keynes and 140 in Slough.
The monitoring of Slough CCTV has been relocated to Milton Keynes. The Milton Keynes Command Suite is monitoring cameras in both areas and has been equipped with the latest CCTV technology to enable Thames Valley Police to secure the best quality evidence possible. Integration with existing police systems will help support investigations, enabling officers to access footage remotely and share it across the force area much more easily.
There has also been investment in staffing which is critical. The Command Suite now has eight CCTV Operators and one Supervisor employed by Thames Valley Police to monitor cameras across both areas, increasing opportunities to detect and stop crime as it is taking place.
Superintendent Felicity Parker, Head of Policing Strategy Unit from Thames Valley Police said: “This partnership brings significant benefits, with upgraded CCTV and enhanced management enabling us to capitalise on reducing crime in Milton Keynes and Slough.
“Increased staffing and the use of technology to identify hot spots will support work to prevent crime and increase people’s feelings of safety in our public spaces. In addition, the new digital camera definition provides us clearer footage to better investigate opportunities to pursue offenders.
“We are excited about the opportunities the partnership brings us in Thames Valley Police, with the potential to develop further capabilities in the future. In Milton Keynes, our CCTV suite is located next to our control room in the police station, allowing for increased collaboration across teams when a crime is taking place. More widely, we will have improved capability to share CCTV with operational colleagues across departments in the force to reduce crime.”
Cabinet Member for Public Realm, Cllr Jennifer Wilson-Marklew from Milton Keynes City Council said: “We’re happy to be making further investments in CCTV which will go a long way in making people feel safe and deterring offenders. Our £250,000 investment in this project is part of our wider commitment to work with partners to keep our streets safe.”
Investment in the CCTV programme includes a five-year maintenance contract to ensure equipment remains fully functional and benefits from system upgrades and technological advancements.
Over the coming months the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Thames Valley Police will be working with partners in Oxfordshire to deliver Phase 2 of the programme. Phase 2 will see the four control centres within Oxfordshire, merge into a single Oxfordshire based hub. Staffing levels will be matched for both Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes hubs and the technologies used will be mirrored to enable the internal link up between systems.
Thames Valley Police continue to support Local Authorities who have not yet joined the Partnership, working closely with them and their CCTV operations.