Agenda item

Review A: Policing in Hillingdon


The Head of Repairs and Engineering attended the meeting and addressed the Committee regarding the improvement of the CCTV system in the Borough.


The Committee heard that the Council had invested £1.65m in over 800 state-of-the-art cameras, which store recorded date for 32 days across the Borough, and the project also involved a major upgrade of the borough’s CCTV control centre, which a number of Committee Members had recently visited. Councillors heard that the new CCTV control room has been a resounding success and the Police are very happy with it.


Members heard that the CCTV infrastructure was identified in 2017 as in need of replacement and upgrade as the current system was at its end of life with a number of faulty cameras producing either no images, or very low quality images. The upgrade included Town Centres, housing estates or fly-tipping hotspots. The Head of Repairs and Engineering noted that he met with the Police before Christmas, and the new CCTV was being used on a daily basis.


Councillors were informed that the program will be extended across the Borough to include automatic number plate recognition, to review mobile camera positions, and to introduce body cameras for Enforcement Officers in ASBIT. A demonstration of facial recognition cameras is planned and will be looked to roll out in the future to assist Council officers and Police. These additions will reduce crime and the fear of crime, which in turn assists in developing the economic well-being of the Borough and encourages greater use of the town centres, green space and community facilities.


Responding to questioning from Members, the Head of Repairs and Engineering confirmed that a number of housing estate cameras have been linked in to the CCTV control room, and when the cameras were required on estates, they would be able to track people using the areas to evade police or commit crimes. Furthermore, there had been attempts to smash CCTV cameras, but these were unsuccessful as they are so robust. As such, the cameras can continue to record without damage, producing images to assist in identifying individuals.


The Head of Repairs and Engineering stated that some systems were not linked back to the control room via WiFi, but can be viewed locally on the ICT network in the Control Room.


Members noted that they were very encouraged by the system following their visit to the control room, and that facial recognition would be an excellent development. The Committee heard that facial recognition would be achieved from both frontal and side images, and initial indications were that the system is very good and could be used in both town centres and targeted areas at first, before being rolled out to the rest of the Borough, and it should lead to further successful prosecutions. Councillors questioned whether the system could be used to help in the cases of missing children, and the Head of Repairs and Engineering noted that he would seek further information on this.


The Head of Repairs and Engineering also confirmed that the summarised numbers of cameras, measures to mitigate WiFi jammers, and further information on the body cameras for officers would be provided to Members in a written update. The Committee noted that the body cameras would be similar to those used successfully by the Police.


The Chairman thanked the Head of Repairs and Engineering for his testimony, and noted that this witness session concluded the evidence stage of the review. As such, the review would now be progressed, and Members were encouraged to submit any potential recommendations or contributions to the Democratic Services Officer.


RESOLVED: That the Committee noted and progressed the review, and written updates would be provided to the Committee regarding:


1.    Whether facial recognition could be used to help in cases of missing children;


2.    Summarised numbers of cameras;


3.    Measures to mitigate WiFi jammers; and,


4.    Technology regarding body cameras that would be used by ASBIT officers.

Supporting documents: