New high-tech CCTV installed in Lancaster and Morecambe

An example of what one of the new CCTV cameras in Lancaster and Morecambe may look like.
An example of what one of the new CCTV cameras in Lancaster and Morecambe may look like.

A new and improved state-of-the-art CCTV system has been installed in Lancaster and Morecambe.

The advanced technology has replaced the district’s existing CCTV cameras and will adopt a 4G wireless connection, allowing more cameras to be added without incurring additional infrastructure and support costs.

The cameras will provide vital evidence to help police in the event of a crime, and will also be used to monitor public areas to assist in managing events and identifying issues relating to litter, vandalism and dog fouling.

Two mobile CCTV cameras are also located at fly-tipping hotspots to help catch offenders.

Lancaster BID, along with Morecambe BID, the Lancaster and District Chamber of Commerce and Lancaster City Council, have been in a CCTV working group since the beginning of 2016 working out the best way forward for CCTV in the district. The group partnered with mobile network Vodafone to upgrade the existing system.

“CCTV is an integral part of Lancaster city centre’s make up and acts as a vital tool to keep residents and visitors safe,” said Rachael Wilkinson, manager at Lancaster BID.

“We are thrilled with the new installations and look forward to seeing what else they can do,” she said.

As part of their partnership with Vodafone, installation cost £100,000 and was completed at the end of March this year.

Lancaster BID and Morecambe BID committed to contributing to the annual £35,000 running costs of the system to a total of £9,000 per year and Morecambe Town Council allocated a contribution of £5,000 per year.

In addition to the council CCTV, Morecambe BID has purchased two dedicated iDefigo Vodafone Smart Camera which will be utilised solely within the Morecambe BID zone on a rotational basis.

These cameras can process thousands of images a month.

Unlike traditional CCTV cameras, these smart cameras only operate when certain parameters are met – like movement within a certain zone.

This has enabled CCTV to evolve from being a fixed-position, landline-dependent system to a mobile broadband one.

“Morecambe BID is very encouraged to see that Lancaster City Council is adopting good business practice by partnering with Vodafone in delivering the system,” said John O’Neill, Manager of Morecambe BID. “CCTV has become an indispensable part of civic life nowadays, acting as a tool for security, civic and social services. The new system will enable a monetisation of CCTV in a way that the old infrastructure could never allow.”

Coun Brendan Hughes, Cabinet member with responsibility for community safety, said: “The world of technology has moved on significantly since the district’s CCTV system was installed back in the 1990s.

“The new CCTV system which is now up and running has been developed in partnership with Vodafone and we are the first council in England to have this technology.

“The opportunities arising from this arrangement are exciting and allow us to explore how new technology can help us provide services much more efficiently.

“Mobile fly tipping cameras have already been added to the network and we are exploring having sensors put in litter bins that tell us when they need emptying so we can plan our rounds better – and we are also looking at how we can use technology to improve our car parking offer and reduce unnecessary traffic in the city centre.”