London Borough of Hackney
Crime and Disorder CCTV - Joined up Delivery
Some 1,400 Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras are installed in many public places throughout Hackney. They are there to protect the people who live, work or visit the borough by contributing to crime reduction and stopping anti social behaviour, as well as providing evidence to assist in the prosecution of offenders, aiding the emergency services, and encouraging greater use of the town centre.
The images from the cameras are continuously monitored 24 hours every day of the year by 25 fully trained NSL staff who are police vetted and SIA Licensed.
We record the images which are retained for 28 days unless an incident is recognised at the time. In this case the images are transferred onto disc for potential evidence and future use.
NSL works in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service, Mare Street Business Watch, Shoreditch Night Owl Watch, Amhurst Park Action Group, Street Wardens, Environmental Enforcement Teams, Hackney Blue Badge Fraud Team, Homerton University Hospital and Dalston Radios against Crime (DRAC).
This enables us to share up to the minute information. We also supply the local Police control room with images from the cameras, to enable them to respond to incidents and prioritise their resources.
In an innovative arrangement both Crime and Disorder CCTV (C&D) and On Street Parking Enforcement CCTV is controlled by NSL and this has provided superb benefits.
Delivering Service Excellence
NSL see the CCTV operation as an essential weapon in the Metropolitan Police armoury in tackling crime and disorder and therefore a significant amount of time and effort is made to use Met Police skills to train our staff in identifying particular traits being displayed by individuals, and inform and provide photographic images to our staff about specific individuals who are of interest to the police.
NSL personnel directly communicate with the Metropolitan Police through dedicated telephone lines and are also able to communicate with officers on the ground via police radio. NSL staff pipe through real time images from the CCTV to several police control rooms and local police offices so they may see actual footage as it occurs.
CCTV cameras are regarded by some as an infringement of personal liberty.
NSL is committed to the belief that everyone has the right to respect for his or her private and family life. We fully train and coach our staff to respect the privacy of the public, and not to move cameras to where privacy is expected.
We follow strict guidelines, in accordance with the Data Protection Act, as to who may request to view data and we channel any requests through the council's data controller.
CCTV recordings are provided to the Metropolitan Police as evidence in the prosecution of individuals and NSL staff also support the police in the prosecution process by their personal attendance in court.
The Benefits of a joint service
NSL have found that combining the operation of CCTV for both Crime and Disorder and On Street Parking Enforcement has brought superb benefits.
• Cost saving - by combining both operations NSL have significantly reduce the number of supervisors needed, since a supervisor can cover both the C&D and On street CCTV operatives, without compromising the quality of supervision.
• Increased Communication - having both operations together ensures that there is smooth handover between incidents noticed by either team, and because the On Street enforcement operatives are SIA trained they have the potential to identify developing incidents earlier.
• Better reaction times to incidents - in non combined operations contact has to be made with the Met police or Crime and Disorder CCTV units by on street CCTV enforcement and an incident handed over. This can leads to delays in reaction time, affecting public safety and the ability to record and use evidence.
• More multi-skilled staff - all of the employees at Hackney are SIA approved, which means that on street CCTV enforcement personnel can also undertake crime and disorder duties and vice versa. This gives NSL the flexibility to short notice switch staff to cover or support each area.
• Greater general pool of talent - multi-skilling all staff gives the NSL team the ability to promote from a greater pool of people, to backfill during holidays or absence therefore limiting use of costly agency staff, and to identify development needs through wider benchmarking within the operation.
• Better retention of staff - having multi-skilled staff allows the operatives to have a wider rotation of roles within the overall CCTV operation, meaning there is greater job satisfaction, and consequently less staff turnover.
• Improved Job proposition for prospective employees - the wider role profile that can be written around Hackney's CCTV operation means that NSL can offer prospective employees a richer and more rewarding role.
During June 2009 alone, 254 arrests were made and £76,000 worth of stolen vehicles recovered in joint operations between the CCTV teams and the police.
In October 2009 the Hackney CCTV team has had its hard work recognised by the National CCTV Strategy Programme, part of the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA). DS Green Preston of Hackney Police, said,
“The team works very hard in partnership with the Hackney CCTV unit and it's fantastic to get this kind of recognition. CCTV has been a great success in Hackney; not only does it help us identify offenders and secure convictions, but it also serves as a deterrent to the small minority of individuals who engage in criminality. Working in partnership with council colleagues and supported by senior police officers means that residents can feel confident that crimes are being detected and the streets of Hackney are getting safer."
Councillor Alan Laing from Hackney Council, said,
"CCTV in Hackney is, quite rightly, held up as a prime example of cutting edge partnership work that is proven to fight crime. A combination of 21st century technology and excellent integrated communications at our CCTV unit helps catch criminals, deters would-be perpetrators and lets residents know they are safer on our streets. We are proud to have our joint efforts recognised."
Did you know?
• Hackney has some of the best crime reduction figures in London
• NSL's CCTV team has helped to reduce crime in Hackney by almost 40% in the last five years
• Hackney has 10,089 fewer victims of crime than 5 years ago