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Partners gather to view Cornwall's CCTV revolution

Responsibility for provision of closed circuit television systems in town centres has long been a grey area.

But in Cornwall, an alliance between local towns, the fire service, Cornwall Council and now the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is finding solutions.

Today (Thursday 18 January) a group of interested parties from inside and outside the county gathered to learn how it has been achieved and what next.

In her Police and Crime Plan Alison Hernandez pledged £200,000 to help seed fund CCTV systems in towns across Devon and Cornwall and supporting monitoring hubs like Cornwall Council’s Fire and Rescue HQ at Tolvaddon.

Hubs like this help to increase efficiencies, share costs and will help us better link CCTV into police control rooms in an emergency.

10 systems are already connected to the hub – Camborne, Hayle, Helston, Penzance, Redruth, Truro, Penryn, Falmouth, Bodmin are live with St Ives coming online soon.

St Ives, which recently voted to implement a new system, is the first in the county to be part-funded by £13,000 from the OPCC. There are three more applications being considered.

The OPCC is also expecting a bid from Cornwall Council’s Fire and Rescue to expand capacity at Tolvaddon and expand its monitoring hub role.

“Safe, resilient and connected communities are the focus of the Police and Crime Plan and CCTV in our communities plays a fundamental part of that journey,” said Ms Hernandez.

“We are in an alliance with Dorset and we are trying to show off the excellent work being carried out in Cornwall to see how we can help them achieve similar aims as we have here.”

Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill visited Tolvaddon to see how the integrated approach works – in particular the involvement of the fire service.

“One of the main reasons I have come here is because of the fire involvement in this project,” he said.

“Dorset is quite similar to Cornwall in its make-up and I see a synergy between both. We do have a CCTV project in Dorset but fire are not involved and as PCC I want to try and bring the whole of Dorset into one CCTV system.

“It’s all about public safety and getting the best use out of our resources.”

Cornwall’s senior police officer Chief Superintendent Jim Pearce spoke about the important role an integrated CCTV system has on the police.

“An integrated CCTV system for Cornwall for police is excellent news,” he said.

“It means we can have a coordinated approach to enforcement and to community safety to make people feel safe.

“The service delivery across all of those towns where there is a system means that officers have direct contact with the control room and we can send resources where they are most needed so we can prevent things from escalating.”