Ipswich CCTV overhaul approved in bid to cut crime and save costs

Security cameras in Ipswich will be replaced as part of a wholesale overhaul of the town's network P

Security cameras in Ipswich will be replaced as part of a wholesale overhaul of the town's network Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

An overhaul of Ipswich’s ageing CCTV network has been given the go ahead, with the scheme set to save tens of thousands a year and help reduce crime in the town.

The town centre CCTV system was established in 1994 by Ipswich Borough Council, where 46 cameras were monitored by an emergency services control room.

That network now numbers 167 cameras and costs in excess of £600,000 a year to run including staff.

Bosses at last night’s borough council executive meeting agreed to set aside a £500,000 pot and appoint a contractor to upgrade the system which will see the old analogue system replaced with a wireless digital network.

The report said: “The current CCTV equipment is no longer sustainable.

“It uses old technology and is expensive to maintain and replace,” and added: “moving from analogue to digital is also considered essential to ensure a robust and future-proof monitoring service is provided”.

Borough council leader David Ellesmere referenced some councils elsewhere in the country which had cut CCTV provision, and said “we do not intend to put members of the public in jeopardy by doing that”.

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He added that it would allow the town to “move more swiftly” when new cameras were needed.

The council confirmed around 90% of the 167 cameras would be replaced, and would include cameras in new locations to provide better coverage in areas not currently served particularly well.

The maintenance contract for the current CCTV ends in January 2019, when the new system will be implemented.

Estimated savings will be in the region of £30,000 per year, according to the council.

The system aims to protect the public and staff, reduce violent and aggressive crime, and aid in criminal investigations, health and safety probes and other formal complaints.

A spokeswoman from Suffolk Constabulary said: “CCTV is a powerful tool used by the force to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

“As with all technology, upgrades periodically need to be made and the improvements can only be a good thing for Ipswich as it will further help us to determine the identify of suspects, witnesses and even vehicles used in crimes committed.

“Suffolk Constabulary works closely with partnership agencies including the local councils, in a bid to keep Suffolk a safe place in which to live and work.”