Town Centre CCTV

The intention of the town centre CCTV systems is directed towards deterring anti-social behaviour and preventing crime, thereby providing a safer environment for the benefit of the whole community.

The Council accepts that there may be legitimate public concern over the use of CCTV to monitor public areas; accordingly it is of fundamental importance that public confidence is maintained by fully respecting individual privacy. A degree of security has therefore been established to ensure the integrity of the recordings made and to ensure that what is seen remains highly confidential.

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The CCTV system will be operated fairly and within the law, and only for the purposes either established or subsequently agreed in the Code of Practice. The privacy of domestic properties within range of cameras will be maintained so as not to impinge upon anyone’s civil liberties.

Nine West Cornwall town councils (Camborne, Hayle, Helston, Penzance, Redruth, Truro, Penryn, Falmouth and Bodmin) are taking part in the project with a total of 93 cameras in operation within these locations, working closely with Cornwall Fire, Rescue and Community Safety Service and Devon and Cornwall Police to use CCTV to reduce crime and anti social behaviour and protect vulnerable people in their local communities.

Funded entirely by the Town Councils via council tax, the aim of this innovative project, believed to be the first of its kind in the country, is to provide a safer environment for residents, local businesses and visitors in the eight towns by deterring anti-social behaviour and preventing crime. 

Under a contract awarded to Cornwall Fire, Rescue and Community Safety Service (CFRCS), the footage from all 93 cameras is being recorded and monitored by dedicated and specially trained staff based in the service’s Critical Control Centre in Tolvaddon. The 360 degree state of the art cameras provide high quality digital images which can be used to support police prosecutions.  A link is also being provided to the Emergency Management Centre at County Hall in Truro, so the images can be accessed in emergency situations such as flooding and major fires.

As staff from the Critical Control Centre have direct links to the police and ambulance services, this means they can also summon immediate help for anyone they see who has been taken ill or injured in an emergency.

A special stakeholders group has been set up to oversee and manage the project and ensure that the workload is shared among the nine councils and their partners. The group, which comprises both Members and Clerks from the Town Councils, together with representatives from the Fire and Rescue Service and Devon and Cornwall Police, will be chaired by a Member from a different council each year.

Consultation regularly takes place and will continue increasingly in order to ensure that best working practices are carried out and best use is made of resources.

The CCTV system will be used for the following purposes:

  • To work in partnership with the Police to improve community safety, and any other circumstances which will benefit the public good.
  • To reduce the fear of crime, which includes assisting the Police in the prevention and/or detection of crime
  • To enable the identification, apprehension and prosecution of people carrying out crime, disorder and other criminal matters.
  • To assist Police Controllers to allocate an appropriate response to incidents occurring in the areas within the field of vision of the surveillance equipment.  
  • To assist the local authority with enforcement information and action under its licensing powers.

The CCTV operators are fully trained and work to a strict code of practice governing the use of the CCTV.

Town 

No. Cameras

Camborne

7

Hayle

6

Helston

7

Penzance

12

Redruth

8

Truro

21

Falmouth

16

Penryn

4

Bodmin

12

Total

93

 

The Council is aware of and undertakes to comply with the requirements of the above Act in its CCTV monitoring system. It will follow not only those standards which are necessary to ensure compliance, but also it will operate with regard to those standards recommended as good practice.

The Council complies with the European Convention on Human Rights which is directly enforceable under UK law. In principle, there is little change required in the practices and guidelines the Council has created but the penalties have increased if this good practice is not carried out, and the monitoring falls outside those objectives stated.

The Council is bound by the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which encourages a presumption of disclosure of information by public authorities to the public upon request. Any request for disclosure pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 will however be considered in the light of the Authority’s obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998, and in the event of a conflict, the authority shall decide whether it is in the public interest to disclose the requested information.

Legislation seeks to ensure that all investigations carried out which may be considered to be covert or intrusive, are certified by an appropriate officer who must be an authorising officer at least two grades above the person in charge of the investigation.

It is possible that the Council’s CCTV service may be called upon to assist in such an investigation and in that case it is essential that the Council be also covered by receipt of the authorisation.

Within the CCTV code of practice at no time would any third party be permitted to operate CCTV equipment.

For criminal matters, the Council will expect to provide evidence via the procedures laid down by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1996.

For further information about CCTV email: communitysafety@cornwall.gov.uk