Cumbria Police has become one of the first forces in the UK to invest in high definition CCTV, as its latest weapon to fight crime.
The force is one of the few in the UK to own its own system – others rely on local councils – and as well as upgrading the existing network of 80 cameras, it’s also installing 40 more in the largest urban areas.
All cameras have been upgraded from 720p to 1080p resolution, as part of a two-year programme that is nearing completion.
Although these new HD cameras do not include facial recognition technology, talks of a possible integration in the future have emerged.
In response, Cumbria Police, have reiterated that the main focus remains on the present rollout of high-definition cameras.
“We’ve almost doubled the quality of the image,” said Andy Petty, CCTV manager, Cumbria Police.
“We’ve gone from 720p to 1080p and in some cases these cameras are running in excess of 1080p so the cameras really are as good as a lot of your TVs at home and that’s the kind of image we’re getting through on these cameras.”
Equipped with software by Bedroq, the cameras feature black screens strategically placed to protect sensitive areas from surveillance, such as windows into private spaces, which reportedly are unremovable by the police.
Carl Patrick, Chief Superintendent, said: “The current CCTV provision has reached the end of its life, so the Constabulary has sought out the best hardware possible to help us to investigate crimes and keep people safe.
“Our CCTV capability is already helping officers find missing people and identify perpetrators every day.
“However, the new cameras will greatly enhance that capability and, in turn, significantly boost the ability of the Constabulary to achieve positive results.”
After concerns about privacy arose, stringent measures are in place to prevent the misuse of the surveillance system.
It is monitored 24 hours a day and footage is kept for 30 days, unless there is a court order.
The new cameras are already being used in Penrith, Workington and parts of Carlisle city centre.
The rest of the county will follow with the intention of reducing crime and increasing prosecutions.