A new CCTV control room that will help keep a watchful eye on shoppers and visitors is now live beneath the Council House.
A large unused kitchen has now been transformed into new control room, complete with a bank of 12 CCTV monitor screens along one wall.
Operators can call up footage from almost 300 cameras located across the city – from the city centre pedestrian areas, district shopping centres, car parks to paths to parks.
The move from the old control room in the Mayflower West car park provided an opportunity to modernise and upgrade the technology. Fibre optic cables were installed and systems upgraded to make sure camera networks talk to each other.
Cabinet member for Street Scene, Councillor Brian Vincent said: “This is an important service as it helps keep our shoppers and visitors safe while they are here.
“Over 2,000 incidents were recorded across six months, with incidents such as missing people, lost children, those wanted by the police for offences, street drinkers and anti-social behaviour.
The work of the team is not just about keeping crime down, but looking after people. The team has received dementia friendly training and work closely with the police to keep an eye on vulnerable residents such as those with mental health issues and dementia who become confused and disorientated while out and about.
Councillor Mark Coker, Cabinet member for Strategic Transport and Planning said: “This is a real leap in technology, with the system that is far more responsive. We last updated the system 12 years ago and screen technology has moved on in leaps and bounds since then.
“We now have instant rewind and multiple screens which will help our staff enormously as they previously had to log onto another computer to review footage.”
“We have been able to provide a CCTV service throughout the project while one control room was being dismantled and another set up, so credit to the teams who have worked so hard to make this happen.”
The technology was installed by Delt, the Council’s ICT provider who worked closely with the CCTV team to make sure the new set up improved on the old arrangements.
Delt Project Manager, Jamie Thompson said: “The relocation of the CCTV Service was a very complex and critical project, not only to continue to keep Plymouth safe with as much CCTV camera coverage as possible during the transition, but utilising specialist knowledge providing interoperability between existing infrastructure and the new platform. The purpose-built CCTV Control Room located in the Council House will be a modern new home for the CCTV operators.
“The new CCTV Control Room has been delivered on time and on budget.”
As well as monitoring public safety and general surveillance, the system is also linked into retailers who are members of Plymouth Against Retail Crime. The team also monitors the radio channels used by the parking operations team, police radio as well as Nite Net – a radio used by local pubs and clubs.
The new centre will also mean the Council House will have 24-hour security as there will be permanent presence of staff in the building. The intention is for the centre to be accessible to the police, to help better team up the other organisations who help keep the city safe.
The old control room was located in the old Mayflower car park which is being demolished to make way for the city’s new coach station.
Work to separate the utilities and IT networks between the Council House and the Civic is still ongoing as is the project to heat the Council House from newly-installed gas boilers in the Guildhall. Both are due to finish this month.
About Delt Shared Services Ltd: launched in October 2014, it is a publicly owned private sector company. The company started with two partners, Plymouth City Council and NHS Northern, Eastern and Western (NEW) Devon Clinical Commissioning Group who between them, provide services for over 900,000 people. Delt will initially deliver ICT services and systems to its partners.