Eyes in sky all around you in Gloucester
AS cameras watch every move of a group of celebrities in the Australian jungle – Gloucester’s
urban jungle is under the same 24-hour surveillance. On a walk around Gloucester reporter Nick Webster's movements were tracked by 57 cameras in Gloucester city centre as we put police powers of surveillance to the test. The ‘eye in the sky’ is used to monitor potential flashpoints and help police crackdown on crime.
BANKS of screens, dozens of cameras and the eagle eye of the police are keeping a watch on Gloucester.
Although 24-surveillance is keeping tabs on the city streets, the existing CCTV system is set for a £400,000 overhaul with new lighting on the way - the biggest city security investment in more than 20 years.
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As I walked the Gate streets, my every movement was tracked by officers viewing me on screens from the Bearland station control room.
The cameras play a crucial role in deterring, detecting and identifying crime and offenders.
Footage is used to extract confessions and secure convictions.
Without it, city policing would be near impossible.
PC Mark Mansfield, night-time economy enforcement officer, says the upgrade will be crucial in keeping the streets safe.
"Some people are highly intoxicated when they are arrested and can't believe their own actions when they see themselves on CCTV," he said.
"They are shocked and don't realise how badly they were behaving. People are different animals when they are drunk.
"We think crime and disorder has increased because it is so dark in some areas. People feel unsafe.
"Half the problem with existing CCTV is that it is so dark in Eastgate Street, it can be hard to identify offenders. An improved system will help us out hugely."
Still images of incidents caught on camera are often crucial in securing a conviction in court.
Police can also monitor gathering crowds and react to potential trouble-spots on camera.
It is hoped the new proposed wireless system will elevate Gloucester's safety to the next level, promising better coverage, clearer images and more flexibility.
City councillor Jennie Dallimore (C, Podsmead) said safety was placed at the top of the list of council priorities after a City Vision public consultation.
"Gloucester cannot afford to be without CCTV when it assists with between 500 and 700 incidents per month.
"Like any technology, advancements mean parts and repairs have become expensive.
"The new proposed wireless system will mean camera locations can be reviewed and relocated according to need and effectiveness.
"There will also be the ability to locate cameras in outer areas of the city if the need arises, rather than being restricted to the current static sites.
As the city grows, so can the coverage."