The people working to keep the streets of Cheshire East safe through CCTV have received a top Home Office award for the quality of their service.
Cheshire East Council, in partnership with town and parish councils across the borough, provides the CCTV service, which has consistently helped police to catch offenders and help tackle street crime.
Cameras on our streets and in many of the borough’s car parks watch over us for our own safety and protection. A team of operators work 24/7 from a surveillance room in Macclesfield, where a multitude of large screens give them a window on the world of public life in the borough.
Now, following an intensive audit of their standard of work, the CCTV team have been awarded a stage two UK surveillance camera commissioner accreditation and are now poised to apply for a British Standard of excellence in control room management.
The detailed audit is carried out by the National Security Inspectorate on behalf of the Home Office and seeks to ensure that the whole service is compliant and meets the highest possible standards for public surveillance, privacy and confidentiality.
Councillor Mick Warren, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for communities, said: “This is a real feather in our cap, and I am really proud that our team have passed this extremely tough test with flying colours.
“While not everyone is warm to the presence of public surveillance cameras, it is an undeniable fact that they have helped to cut crime on our streets and helped to make the public feel safer.
“We only have to watch television programmes such as Crimewatch to appreciate the value of CCTV in the fight against crime and how video can help police catch and prosecute some serious criminals.”
Surveillance camera commissioner, Tony Porter, said: “I congratulate Cheshire East Council on this achievement. My certification mark means the council has demonstrated its commitment to use surveillance cameras appropriately, proportionately and transparently.
“I acknowledge the sterling work by the council’s CCTV team in driving up standards by ensuring that the council’s surveillance camera systems are being operated ethically and legitimately and to an appropriate standard.”
Each month during 2019/20, the CCTV team handled an average of 1,000 incidents, provided 100 pieces of video evidence in criminal cases and helped to coordinate around 50 live arrests, including a man armed with a machete who attacked a partygoer.
They also helped police link a shoplifting incident with an armed robbery several hours later after identifying the same vehicle in each offence. The surveillance team also directed police to a missing person behaving in a strange manner and who was said to be of ‘high risk’.
The accreditation from the surveillance camera commissioner runs until 2025.