NEARLY £100,000 is being invested in bringing Hambleton’s security cameras up to date.

The money will be spent on upgrading the control room, which monitors the district’s 44 cameras, with a more advanced digital system. 

The £99,000 upgrade will it easier for police to find evidence in crime investigations and improve the quality of recordings.

Currently the cameras are monitored on an analogue system which records footage onto video tape.

The CCTV control room was relocated to the Civic Centre in Northallerton from the Police Control Room in 2002 – bringing with it the original 1995 control room equipment. Since that time the system has not been updated.

Hambleton District Councillor Tim Swales said: “At the present time the equipment uses old-fashioned tapes and we have to run through a tape to get a still shot, which takes time.

"This new system will just involve clicking on a laptop to find what you need. The police will really benefit.”

Coun Swales said they will offer round-the-clock surveillance of cameras to some businesses’ own CCTV in areas such as Northallerton’s business park, by linking the images to their own control room.

There are currently 25 cameras in Northallerton, 11 in Thirsk, three in Bedale and five in Stokesley. There is also a system of mobile units which can be deployed to hotspots for short-term surveillance.

Coun Swales said the value of CCTV surveillance in towns and cities had been highlighted since the London riots, when surveillance footage was used to secure convictions.

He said: “Since the London riots there was a swing towards keeping CCTV cameras because those images sealed the prosecutions. So this has been done at a time when there’s been full support for the scheme from members. People see the value of it now.”

He added: “The safety of our residents is paramount. It is a valuable asset to our market towns, particularly in the markets and car parks.

“And through this investment we can bring it bang up to date and help the police be more effective.”

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