Preston’s CCTV system in the city centre is set to be permanently monitored 24-hours seven days a week once again.Advertisement
Funding cuts meant the cameras on our streets were not being checked continuously – with the number of hours operators were on the screens cut down to save money.
Now the final stages of a deal to set up a shared CCTV hub between a number of councils is being put into place.
Preston City Council is combining with Blackburn with Darwen Council to create a Lancashire CCTV hub with the Preston cameras running direct into feeds at a new monitoring venue in Blackburn – which is already under way.
Part of King George’s Hall has been converted to keep a close eye on the cameras and have a direct line to Preston Police Station.
Read more: Money seized from criminals to cover upgrade of Preston CCTV system
The city council’s cabinet will meet on Wednesday (21 June) and is due to rubber-stamp the proposals.
Preston has 25 cameras across the city centre and they will cost £45,880-a-year to maintain and monitor.
This represents a saving of £22,900-per-year for the city council compared to what it has budgeted for the cameras.
A council spokeswoman said: “The monitoring has been 24/7 since November/December 2016 at the Blackburn Hub under an informal arrangement.
“The report to Cabinet is to formalise this arrangement with a Service Level Agreement between PCC and BwD council.
“For a period of time before November, it was only monitored 168 hours per week.”
Alongside this change the city council is planning to upgrade the CCTV system in use at the Avenham multi-storey car park.
Nine cameras currently operate in the car park but the system is 11 years old and in need of upgrading and extending to all car park levels.
Security has been axed at the car park and the cameras are the only security mechanism.
Read more: Avenham car park now offers online payment
At a cost of £34,000 the cameras would be upgraded and an additional 13 cameras put in to monitor the car park and outside the car park.
The city council says it is able to make savings in how it operates the car park – at present a private security staff member opens the car park at 6.30am but the city council says it will use an existing staff member to perform this duty – saving nearly £5,000-per-year.
What do you think about the CCTV system? Let us know your views in the comments below
Clarification: This story originally said CCTV would be monitored 24-7 again in Preston. We’ve added information from the council which clarifies the service is already in operation from Blackburn, since December last year. Before this the number of hours the cameras were being monitored had been reduced.