CCTV coverage of Dewsbury town centre frequently comes in for much criticism. So members of the Dewsbury Chamber of Trade today visited the Kirklees CCTV control room to get the facts. (photo: , from the left, Bruce Bird, Chamber of Trade Neil Hepplestall, Control Room manager, Paul Ellis, President of the Chamber)
There are in excess of 150 CCTV cameras covering the various towns and rural areas of Kirklees and all of them are managed as a single system from the control room with live feeds arriving via digital fibre.
CCTV screen bank in the Control Room
There are a total of 22 staff providing 24 hour coverage and since 2017 the Control Room also covers 'out of hours' calls for all of Kirklees services after 3pm.
Police connection to CCTV control room
Communication takes place in both directions with the West Yorkshire Police control centre in Bradford asking for CCTV cover as soon as an incident is reported while CCTV centre will start a live feed from any cameras to the Police control centre as soon as the control room operators spot anything untoward.
The Control Room also monitors police radio bands in order to respond as quickly as possible to events as they develop. However, the response to any incident caught by the cameras is down to the police and will depend on the resources they have available at the time.
The cameras monitor all incidents whether it is traffic, shoplifting, anti social behaviour or any other and in the last 12 months the Control Room logged 822 incidents to the Police for Dewsbury which led to 70 arrests.
Naturally, we are not going to be told the exact coverage areas of the 26 or so cameras in Dewsbury. This would be a dead giveaway to the bad guys. When not in active use the cameras are 'parked' to cover the area of greatest interest and this may be different at different times of the day or night.
It is inevitable that there will be incidents that will not be caught by the cameras, or they are pointing the wrong way or cannot be brought into use quickly enough. This is unfortunate and there may be ways to achieve better results in the longer term. But the only way to a system that catches every activity is a blank cheque book - that we as council tax payera cannot afford or a one way ticket to Peking where the totalitarian communist party will welcome you with open arms.
In response to a specific rumour, Neil Hepplestall, Control Room manager, confirmed that there is definitely no direct communication between the Control Room and parking attendants in Dewsbury.
Killing a rumour every day
- There is only 1 CCTV system across all of Kirklees.
- There is nothing different between the cameras and the systems in Dewsbury or elsewhere.
- The cameras exist, they are working and are fit for purpose.
- CCTV is only one part of the crime reduction picture. Retail businesses in particular should be joining Dewsbury Business Watch in order to develop the network of businesses defending themselves against crime.
CCTV services by Kirklees
The closed circuit television service is run by Kirklees council and you can find the additional CCTV services they offer here