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Fighting crime the Salford City way

NLPG Exemplar Award Winner – Most Innovative Use 2009: Salford City Council.

Partners from across the City of Salford are reaping the rewards while criminals are paying the price of a new CCTV mapping system with the NLPG at its heart. Salford’s gazetteer has been combined with data on CCTV locations and field of view information, together with camera owner contact details and crime hotspots. The inhouse designed system is being used to catch criminals, target surveillance, plan operations and react to incidents in real time. It is also facilitating requests for information or recordings and improving partner cooperation.

The Salford Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP), like many others across the country, has seen a rapid expansion in both public and private surveillance systems. However, it was not uncommon for the victims of crime to be asked if they had knowledge of CCTV coverage in the vicinity of an incident. This was because CDRP did not have an accurate record of their own camera locations or know of the existence and position of private CCTV systems, and the coverage afforded by both.

Discussions between the CDRP and Customer and Support Services identified the requirement for a mapping based solution, with a tool to pinpoint incident locations, logically based around the Council’s NLPG. The system needed to be able to identify the location of an incident quickly and accurately. It then needed to construct routes or pathways between related incidents, identify cameras with potential coverage and provide contact details for relevant systems in order to request footage. The solution was a secure web based application, accessible to authorised users from any internet enabled device.

It is intended that the system, once developed, will be populated with additional intelligence.

Outcomes

The capture of council monitored camera locations was relatively simple, transforming simple street name or intersection descriptions into NLPG locations. However, the big challenge was to develop a separate mechanism to capture information about private systems. The NLPG was used to develop a web interface, accessible through the council’s public facing website. This enables citizens, businesses and other public sector organisations to identify and record their camera locations on a map before adding contact and camera information.

A number of benefits to businesses have already been achieved, including the rapid identification and securing of incident footage. This has led to an increase in crime detection, improved crime and antisocial behaviour reporting, monitoring and targeting, as well as better liaison between partner organisations and agencies. In addition, there is now proactive monitoring and increased use of existing CCTV resources for applications such as emergency planning, insurance claim investigation and targeting benefit fraud.

The resulting system has also led to significant efficiency savings being achieved by partner organisations. These include Greater Manchester Police who report a reduction in the time officers spend tracking down crucial CCTV footage from cameras positioned on different buildings. In the past, they had to identify camera locations by knocking on doors and/or submitting enquiries to HM Land Registry.

The citation for the 2009 ‘CCTV Innovation and Management Award’ effectively summarises the project to date: ‘…from every angle Salford CCTVGIS delivers what the customer wants. The web application follows two golden rules; a maximum of three clicks per operation, and enter data once – process many times. It is fast, interactive and demonstrates the true power of integrating GIS spatial data, mapping and the NLPG’.

Key benefits

  • A comprehensive, geographically referenced record of CCTV camera locations, coverage and ownership, together with crime analysis information accessible in real time via an easy to use web application.
  • Effective crime prevention leads to a reduced risk of crime. Citizens, who ultimately bear the cost of crime, experience less fear and are more confident going about their daily business.
  • Improved partnership working – the Police, Fire Service, University of Salford and Neighbourhood Managers are examples of the organisations who are utilising the system in the increasingly important areas of crime prevention and detection.
  • Intelligent expansion of the CCTV network – this results in a reduction of duplicate locations, full consideration of camera views in the planning process.
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