South Holland is about to launch its third CCTV system in a decade and this time it will be a gigantic leap forward with a system fit for the 21st century.
Twenty-five new cameras are ready to be installed before the end of the month – 17 in Spalding, four or five in Holbeach and three in Crowland as the £100,000-plus system goes live.
For the first time cameras will be monitored 24/7 by professionals at a dedicated control centre in Boston.
Until now South Holland’s cameras have been watched part-time by volunteers using a room at Spalding Police Station or the footage has been saved so police can check on incidents on a given time and date.
The new cameras give far better picture quality than their predecessors and operators in the CCTV monitoring centre will be able to zoom in on faces and car number plates – as well as track suspects or vehicles through the streets.
South Holland District Council’s deputy leader, Coun Nick Worth, said: “I would say it’s like going from a bog standard TV to high definition (HD) and that’s the only way I can describe it.
“You can hone in on a newspaper from a fairly long way off. It’s a very clear image and the cameras show very fine detail.
“You can get pictures of car number plates from several hundred yards away.
“The system will track people and cars as well.
“If the operators spot a car in Spalding town centre doing something it should not be doing, the system can lock on to that car and track the car whilst it is going out of Spalding through the various CCTV cameras.”
Police inspector Jim Tyner has welcomed the launch.
He said: “CCTV is an invaluable tool for tackling crime and anti-social behaviour. Our current CCTV system is staffed by some fantastic volunteers and they produce some excellent results but the new system will bring significant improvements.”
The £108,475 CCTV system will be paid for by the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Alan Hardwick (£56,000), Lincolnshire County Council’s second homes income (£18,000), and South Holland District Council and participating parish councils sharing the £34,000 balance.
Holbeach Parish Council decided to cut its camera installations from five to four because it had to make bigger budget cuts than expected.
But Coun Worth said: “We may try to keep the five in the interests of public safety.”
He said Long Sutton and Sutton Bridge parish councils have opted out at this stage – Long Sutton because it didn’t like the images from the old cameras and Sutton Bridge because it had an issue around police response times, which wasn’t directly related to the new scheme.