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'Mobile Possibilities Opened Up' By CCTV's Salvation

The manager of the Morecambe Business Improvement District (BID) says last month's confirmation that Lancaster and Morecambe will continue to be covered by CCTV, opens up possibilities for mobile systems to help crack down on key issues like vandalism and fly-tipping.

In late September it was confirmed that cameras will be upgraded after years of uncertainty over funding due to cuts.

Morecambe BID has been working with Lancaster BID, the local Chamber of Commerce, and council officers to ensure coverage for the area - also including parts of Heysham.

The ageing and expensive current setup will be modernised with much lower running costs.

It can be monitored from any location, meaning no need for a control room and will all be done in partnership with Vodafone.

John O’Neill, Manager of Morecambe BID, said: “CCTV has become an indispensable part of civic life nowadays, acting as a vital tool for security, civic and social services.

“The new system being looked at by the Council will enable a monetisation of CCTV in a way that the old infrastructure could never have allowed. In addition, by adopting a 4G wireless system, more cameras can be added to the system without incurring addition additional infrastructure and support costs.

"This opens up the possibilities of mobile CCTV to police such issues as fly-tipping, vandalism, and anti-social behaviour to name but a few.”

Lancaster City Council rubber-stamped the move at a full council meeting and engineers will start installing the system in the next weeks and months.

Installation will cost £100,000. Morecambe BID and Lancaster BID have 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 have allocated a contribution of £5,000 per year.

Rachael Wilkinson, Lancaster BID Manager said: “CCTV is an integral part of Lancaster city centres make up and acts as a vital tool to keep residents and visitors safe. CCTV also holds significant importance to the business community in Lancaster.

"The approval of ‘The Smart District’ provides a sound basis on which to further develop the excellent partnerships which have developed from the CCTV working group over the past year, which will be an example for others to follow.”

Vicky Lofthouse, Chief Executive Officer of Lancaster and District Chamber of Commerce added: “We are delighted to hear that Lancaster City Council has agreed to keep the vitally important CCTV service in our district, when so many councils are scaling back in an attempt to cut costs.  

"The Chamber has been working with both Lancaster and Morecambe BID, since early 2016, on behalf of its Members to stop the cameras from being turned off, thus ensuring safety and peace of mind for businesses and members of the public alike.

"In addition, some very dedicated council officers have worked tirelessly to bring the new scheme to fruition. We look forward to continuing to work with the Council to ensure the CCTV system is relevant, modern and sustainable.”

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