Back in August 2011 the London riots showed how Local Authority town centre CCTV can be instrumental in identifying those committing crime and public disorder offences to the police. Recordings made during the London riots demonstrated the full potential of CCTV with thousands of arrests made after the incidents many based upon CCTV evidence. In future the expectation of similar CCTV coverage may act as a positive deterrent to similar occurrences in towns and city centres
Closed circuit television surveillance is an increasing feature of our daily lives in Tunbridge Wells. It plays a significant role in protecting the public, promoting community safety, and assisting the police in the investigation of crime and in reducing the fear of crime across our borough.
CCTV has been active in helping the police identify and bring to justice those involved in all aspects of criminality, not just serious crime and terrorist incidents. CCTV in the UK has significant public support and year on year crime surveys record that the public feels safer due to the presence of CCTV.
The Borough Council’s CCTV system consists of 37 cameras covering: Tunbridge Wells Town Centre, North Farm, Knights Park, Paddock Wood, Lamberhurst, Pembury, Southborough, Hawkhurst, Cranbrook and Rusthall.
In addition to this the control room works in partnership with Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council covering an additional 67 cameras, in Tonbridge High Street, West Malling High Street, Snodland High Street including various car parks.
The prime purpose of the system is to support the Community Safety Unit of the Council and its partners to reduce both the level of crime and fear of crime. To create a safer community, improving the quality of life for all in keeping with the Tunbridge Wells Community Safety Partnership (CSP). The CSP developed out of multi-agency working in the 1990s, with a formal partnership being formed following the enactment of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. The CSP is made up of responsible authorities and voluntary members. Responsible authorities are those bodies for whom membership of the CSP is a statutory obligation. These include: Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Kent County Council, Kent Police, Kent Fire and Rescue Services, West Kent NHS, and Kent Probation. The aim of the partnership is to reduce crime and disorder and the fear of crime and to build safer localities for those who live, work and speed leisure time in the Borough.
All the cameras are recorded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, by experienced Security Industry Authority (SIA) qualified operators. Monitoring is based on intelligence emanating from daily tasking meeting with partners. Proactive monitoring with Tunbridge Wells Safe Town Partnership, whereby businesses have access to the CCTV control room and local police by a dedicated radio system.
Last year 1st April 2013 to 31st March 2014, the CCTV control room assisted police with 441 arrests in Tunbridge Wells and 286 in Tonbridge & Malling, a total of 727 arrests.
The CCTV control room is also utilised for public safety in terms of personal welfare; assisting police with locating 166 missing and vulnerable persons in Tunbridge Wells and 123 in Tonbridge & Malling, contributing to the health and wellbeing of individuals.
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council remain committed to the use of CCTV in helping to make our communities a safer place to live, work and visit.
CCTV Partnership Manager