CCTV van goes digital

A MOBILE crime fighting device that discourages anti-social behaviour by providing a high visible presence across Huntingdonshire is set to go digital. Purchased by Huntingdonshire District Council in May 2004 for £135,000, the mobile CCTV unit is desig

A MOBILE crime fighting device that discourages anti-social behaviour by providing a high visible presence across Huntingdonshire is set to go digital.

Purchased by Huntingdonshire District Council in May 2004 for £135,000, the mobile CCTV unit is designed to supplement the council's 105 town centre cameras.

Operating in partnership with Cambridgeshire Constabulary and the Huntingdonshire Community Safety Partnership, the vehicle is generally used to target anti-social behaviour hotspots such as Hinchingbrooke Country Park and parts of Huntingdon and St Neots. It will be used at the IWA Boat Festival and Show this weekend in St Ives.

Cllr Colin Hyams, the executive councillor with responsibility for CCTV, said: "This enables the council to deliver crime reduction through CCTV to the very heart of its community."


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Adapted from a Mercedes Sprinter van, the vehicle is fitted with three operational colour cameras, which can tilt, plus a further three cameras on the outside to protect the vehicle. The front top camera is fitted with infra red and is known as Metal Mickey because it is said to resemble the ears of Mickey Mouse.

The rear of the vehicle is fitted out as a secure CCTV control room with four monitors, two control units, two digital VHS, one multiplex digital video recorders and a still printer. Images are monitored from the vehicle and can be recorded and used as evidence in court.

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The van also has a public address system, automatic number plate recognition, quirk and a reversing noise that is said to sound like a duck.

CCTV unit supervisor, Roger Clark, said: "The aim of the vehicle is to deter anti-social behaviour. It is not just about catching criminals, it is about reassuring the law-abiding people who feel vulnerable.

"Lots of people say it is like Big Brother with all the cameras but if you are doing nothing wrong then you have nothing to worry about."

Over the next few weeks, the CCTV control room and equipment onboard the van will be upgraded to digital technology.

INFORMATION: To find out more about the work of the HDC CCTV mobile van visit www.huntsdc.gov.uk

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