|Eight Panasonic WV-CW960 colour dome cameras are installed at Earby and Barnoldswick town centre|
All town centres throughout the country face the tough task of ensuring security and safety for its residence. Often the needs of one town centre differs greatly from that of another and most larger cities now employ surveillance systems to combat the issues. However, similar issues also affect our rural areas. Crime is equally as disruptive to residents and visitors; we take a look at how the varying sizes of towns in the rural area of Pendle are addressing their own very distinct set of security problems.
Situated amongst the rolling hills of East Lancashire and comprising busy towns such as Colne and Nelson, who sit alongside more rural communities such as Earby and Barnoldswick, Pendle Borough Council felt it a top priority to keep up the appeal of the area by upgrading its CCTV system to support its buoyant tourist industry and for the reassurance of its residents.
Now known as ‘Housing Pendle Limited', the authority manages 3,371 homes, providing affordable housing through efficiently managed and well maintained properties. It works hard to provide affordable housing and associated care and support services for its customers throughout East Lancashire. Investing £7.4 million on improving homes across the Borough, it was charged with finding innovative solutions to the problematic housing market collapse in towns across East Lancashire - where low demand and negative equity prevailed.Community improvement
Directly addressing these issues, Housing Pendle Limited initiated multiple improvements to residences and public areas, key to which has been a significant investment in CCTV surveillance technology. Patrick Collins, Housing Manager at Housing Pendle Limited takes up the story: "Over the years, some areas of our estates had developed ‘difficult to let areas'. These were commonly areas with a high turnover of tenants, where people moved in and out more frequently than in our other areas."
Panasonic WV-CW970 weather proof colour dome camera comes with Super Dynamic III technology
"As an authority, a key priority was the improvement of our housing stock. To facilitate this most effectively and create a long-term solution, we liaised heavily with the people with the most experience of these areas, our tenants. Throughout this process, tenants cited improvement of housing stock and the areas in which they live as being instrumental to their success and long-term tenancy. Directly addressing tenants' concerns, we also initiated a trail CCTV system installed where our home occupiers felt it would be most valuable."
"The results were astonishing, yielding a great benefit to the security of the area, reflected in an increase of long-term tenancies. Following this successful consultation period, we initiated a continual plan of improvements to homes and a concerted plan of action to clean up the streets, including our defensible space priorities, such as erecting fences around key hotspots like community centres and exposed properties. After our initial surveillance system made such an impact on its trial area, it was an inevitable decision that we would expand the surveillance capabilities throughout our housing network."
To facilitate this, Housing Pendle Limited turned to Panasonic
Premier Integrator, Crime Prevention Services Limited
, who performed comprehensive evaluations of the proposed sites for the expansion of the system.Positive impact
Nigel Fairhurst, Sales Director at Crime Prevention Services explains: "After the first system was installed in the Marsden Park area, Pendle Borough Council immediately recognised the benefits, and understood the advantages and cost benefits a series of networked surveillance systems would bring to them. They then commissioned us to equip a further five areas with the same Panasonic technology."
"Patrick (Collins) gave us a very clear and simple brief as to what the requirements were from the systems. To monitor crystal clear images from each estate from a purpose built control facility within the Town Hall at Colne, where Housing Pendle are based, and also from each of the estates' individual community centres. Addressing these criteria, we installed Panasonic control equipment and a hard-disc recorder within each community centre, recording visual information from a network of cameras throughout each estate."
"Both live and recorded footage can be accessed from any part of the network, at any control facility, including the one at the town hall, which features a 50" Panasonic plasma display to pick out even the smallest detail from the high resolution camera images."
Promoting the benefits
After each system was installed, Patrick and the Housing Pendle team supported its inception by highlighting its capabilities, communicating this in their quarterly newsletter circulated to all residents. Patrick continues: "When the systems are initially installed, we also highlight any antisocial behaviour captured on them in the newsletters. This has a fantastic effect of reinforcing the systems' capabilities, and has an instant effect on the reduction of anti-social incidents. We have even had instances of cameras being erected but not yet connected to the system and anti-social incident rates instantly falling in that area. This perfectly illustrates the efficiency with which an effectively marketed surveillance solution can counter the troublesome elements in our society."
|Purpose built control facility within the Town Hall at Colne including a WV-CU650 system controller|
Observing the benefits the networked Panasonic surveillance solutions were bringing to these areas, the team at Crime Prevention Services was commissioned to expand the system to include the picturesque towns of Earby and Barnoldswick. "With the result of a quantifiable downturn in anti-social behaviour due to the existing systems, Pendle Borough Council were eager to progress the benefits to these tourist rich, historical town Centres,"
Nigel says. However, it was the historic elements of the towns which presented the biggest challenge to Nigel and his team, as he continues: "In Barnoldswick for example, a large part of the town centre is paved with historically important cobbles. To remove these, excavate and install cabling would have been uneconomical to the council, and somewhat unethical to us as an installer. Carrying out civil works on 150 years of history was avoided by the use of a wireless wide area network (WAN), designed in-house by the Crime Prevention Services team. Each camera has been positioned with a line-of-sight to the next unit, ensuring no system ‘blind spots' and uninterrupted WAN transmission of images back to the Barnoldswick police station."
Again exclusively employing Panasonic technology, the Barnoldswick system is controlled from a purpose built control room within the Police station, where digital recording technology also archives evidential footage from the system. "The system has proved beneficial in a number of ways,"
explains Police Sergeant Andrew Cartwright. "We operate eight fully trained CCTV operators on a rota basis and increase man cover over the busy Friday/Saturday evening periods. Our operators are regularly briefed by the community officers to ensure everyone is fully aware of what the policing team is trying to achieve during any particular period. Police officers are encouraged to ask the question ‘How am I using my CCTV operator to achieve local objectives today' and are in direct contact with the control room throughout their shift. Examples of this focused approach include targeting underage drinking, and those members of the community encouraging this by purchasing alcohol for young people."
Using the WV-CU650 control keyboard
, experienced operators furnish the system with a number of camera pre-set tours, allowing local officers to use community intelligence to focus on areas most likely to suffer from anti-social behaviour or crime during certain times. Sergeant Cartwright explains: "Using the Panasonic solution, these pre-sets can be rapidly changed if required to allow the system to evolve with any particular monitored area's activity and as the impact of the CCTV system filters through the community, influencing potential offenders' behaviour."
"These carefully planned and constantly refined pre-set tours have proved fruitful in detecting a number of serious offences within Pendle, including burglaries, theft from and of motor vehicles, and assaults. The ability for any officer to have 24-hour access to quality images from our digital video recorders has made an impressive impact on detecting crime and disorder in the area."
Each of the system's stakeholders can view over 100 cameras in total, allowing a true borough-wide overview of the area, whether it's the urban residential areas of Housing Pendle or the rural village centre of Barnoldswick; each community has directly benefited from the introduction of the advanced surveillance solution.