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05 December 2012
A new state-of-the-art closed-circuit television (CCTV) control hub - with access to cameras covering virtually the whole of west London - was opened Wednesday 5 December.The new CCTV hub, which can stream images from around 800 cameras, will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and utilises the latest high definition, infra-red and LED technology.Councillors from Hammersmith & Fulham and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea unveiled the new facilities, which were described as the `eyes and ears' of law-abiding residents, in Hammersmith. This is another example of the groundbreaking initiative between the two boroughs to improve services through more cooperative working; rather than paying for a control room in each borough the two councils will consolidate their CCTV operations within one.High definition digital surveillance cameras, surpassing many used by professional photographers, now cover large parts of west London and the two local councils are now joining forces to create a fully integrated system. Using a combination of fixed and pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras, nearly 7million hours of footage a year, or 134,000 hours a week, will be streamed from the councils' 798 cameras into the CCTV control room - which cost £80,000 to upgrade.Some of the high definition PTZ cameras can zoom hundreds of metres and come equipped with infrared night vision technology and even windscreen wipers to combat the elements.Live images can be beamed direct to command centres in police stations or downloaded at the touch of a button to be used in criminal investigations or as evidence.Inside the control room, ten 47 inch LED screens form a video wall that beams live images from around the two boroughs to a team of five operators who work around the clock to keep the boroughs safe. Council operators are poised to instantly respond to live situations and alert the police, or other appropriate authority, as events unfold. From high speed pursuits and violent assaults and other crimes in progress including people acting suspiciously, CCTV staff can track incidents as they are happening -increasing the chances that criminals will be caught red handed.Councillor Greg Smith, H&F Council Deputy Leader, said: "CCTV is a fantastic way to deter, catch and convict criminals. This new CCTV hub is the eyes and ears of law-abiding residents and we now have cameras covering every nook and cranny of our patch. Any criminal stupid enough to try something in west London needs to know we have the capability to track them down and bring them to justice. Criminals can run but they cannot hide."A recent examination shows the councils' camera network is capturing around 500 incidents a month.Councillor Rock Feilding-Mellen, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's Cabinet Member for Civil Society said: "This new system is boosting our ability to create safer environments and combat crime and disorder. By combining our control room with our neighbours in Hammersmith & Fulham we will have state of the art tools to monitor incidents and this will help us provide a more improved community safety." In November council CCTV operators tracked a prolific robber to a secret hideout where he was arrested. A drink driver who failed to stop after an accident was snared after CCTV cameras followed him home and the owner of a stolen bike was reunited with their property after the thief was caught red-handed on CCTV.
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