Closed circuit television - ( CCTV )

Background

Cheshire East’s central control room was established in June 2011 and now provides continuous monitoring 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days per year.

Following a number of developments and improvements over the years Cheshire East’s CCTV network now covers numerous locations in 14 towns across the Borough. The entire network is maintained by the Council’s small team of CCTV Maintenance Technicians.

Central monitoring control room in Macclesfield Town HallImpact of CCTV

The CCTV system is seen to be not only a deterrent, and provide reassurance to the public, but an effective means of detecting crime and assisting the police in identifying offenders. The need for CCTV cameras is continually being assessed by the Council and its partners. Cameras are installed, removed and relocated as and when necessary for the benefit of the Borough’s residents, commercial sector and visitors, and to assist the Police in preventing and reducing crime. The system operates in conjunction with the Police and other emergency service, providing evidence for many prosecutions. If CCTV Operators notice an incident they can advise the police and direct them where to go. CCTV contributes to reducing the fear of crime and increasing the perception of security in the areas covered by the cameras.

Closed Circuit Television

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) is a television system which operates on a "closed loop" basis. Unlike broadcast television which is available to anyone with a suitable receiver, CCTV pictures are only available to those directly connected to the loop, which in Cheshire East's case is the central monitoring control room in Macclesfield Town Hall. The loop is a physical link consisting of a fibre optic cable which carries the picture from the camera to a monitor.

The pictures are seen by

Cheshire East Borough Council employs 10 fully trained CCTV Operators who are independently vetted by Cheshire Police. Any live pictures viewed by the operators can if necessary also be seen simultaneously by the Cheshire Police at the Police resource deployment centre based within their Winsford Headquarters.

The camera movements are strictly controlled and are limited by the Human Rights and Data Protection legislation. Where necessary ‘privacy zones’ are set up on the equipment which prevents staff in the control centre from invading the privacy of residents in their own homes.

How long are images kept

Images/recordings are kept on the control room system for a maximum period of 21 days unless they are required for evidential purposes for criminal prosecution. In such instances, the information is retained by Cheshire Police until after the court cases are completed, including any appeal which might be made. At the end of the 21 day period the information in the control room is automatically overwritten.

Cameras in Cheshire East

There are currently over 150 ‘on street’ and over 90 car park cameras deployed in and around the Borough’s towns.

Incidents that CCTV been instrumental in

The CCTV Operators are instrumental in dealing with approximately 1,100 incidents a month. Many of these incidents have assisted the Police in undertaking their duties.

Types of incidents have been captured on CCTV

The majority of incidents relate to theft, violent crime, burglary, arson, car crime, criminal damage, drugs and general anti-social behaviour.

The Council has ownership of the recordings with access strictly controlled. For example, if someone bumps a car and the owner wanted to see if it was recorded by the CCTV camera, they can either contact the Police who may be dealing with the matter, their Solicitor, the Councils’ Compliance and Customer Relations Team or the CCTV control room who will advise on the best course of action.

Under no circumstances will recorded data or details from the recorded data be made available to anyone other than those within the control room unless a request is made via the aforementioned channels.

The procedure for the release of evidence

All requests for the release of data shall be channelled through the Councils’ Compliance and Customer Relations Team who can be emailed on DP@cheshireeast.gov.uk. The Operational Manager will then investigate the request and will at all times ensure that the procedures comply with the Data Protection legislation.

Data from the CCTV system is primarily released to the Police and any other agencies as agreed by the Compliance and Customer Relations Team and the Operational Manager.

Under certain circumstances it can also be released to members of the general public whose images happen to get recorded as long as the relevant requests have been made to the Compliance and Customer Relations Team via the above email.

CCTV links with Shop and Pub Watch

A scheme exists whereby CCTV can work in partnership with local businesses, primarily shops during the day and bars, pubs and clubs during the night to try and ensure the best possible experience for those using the town’s centres facilities.

This partnership means that member businesses are linked directly with the CCTV control room via a shop or pub watch radio. This enables two way dialects and means CCTV Operators are able to direct specific cameras to the scene of any problems, warn businesses of any imminent danger or trouble, gather evidence for future investigations and to contact the emergency services when help and assistance is needed.

Code of Practice for CCTV

Cheshire East Councils CCTV System meets it obligations under the Surveillance Camera Commissioners 12 Guiding Principles and works to the current Council Code of Practice (PDF, 203KB) for the use of CCTV across the borough. This document will be reviewed by the CCTV Manager yearly unless changes make it necessary to review sooner. Each review will be updated here, in local libraries and council customer service desks across the borough.

Surveillance camera commissioner

Self assessment tool

How well does your organisation comply with the 12 guiding principles of the surveillance camera code of practice? Complete this easy to use self assessment tool (PDF, 285KB) to find out if you do.

This self assessment tool will help you and your organisation identify if you’re complying with the principles in the code. It should be completed in conjunction with the surveillance camera code of practice.