Scores of ageing CCTV cameras so old it would cost "a small fortune" to repair them are to be replaced.

Darlington Borough Council has agreed to spend more than £500,000 on the major upgrade.

The revamp will see "state-of-the-art" new technology will take over from 74 creaking cameras, which are described in a council report as older, obsolete, poor-quality analogue models.

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Councillor Mike Renton, the council's cabinet member for stronger communities, said: "We've had this incredible working relationship with the police, and the CCTV system was an integral part of that.

"But it needed updating," he told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday (June 22) evening.

"A review has concluded and it ticks all the boxes. It replaces our old stock, some of which was 20 years old, with brand new state-of-the-art cameras, and it also suggests updating the connectivity infrastructure.

The Northern Echo: Cllr Mike Renton. Picture: Northern Echo.Cllr Mike Renton. Picture: Northern Echo.

"Last week I had the opportunity to visit the CCTV command centre. I was impressed by the coverage we have of the town. I was able to see how important this system was in the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour. I witnessed first-hand calls coming in from the police to aid ongoing incidents.

"I was also shown the difference between the old cameras, which reminded me of Crimewatch, to the new ones where you could pick out a wrinkle at a mile away.

"It was also explained to me that the technology on the old cameras was so out of date that fixing them would cost a small fortune, so replacing them was paramount.

"If the extreme level of effectiveness of our working relationship with the police and other agencies is to stay the same, we must make this investment.

"The police know that as well as we do, and that is why they have committed to pay £25,000 a year towards it for the next 10 years, a pledge we are incredibly grateful for."

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Cllr Matthew Snedker referred to ongoing park problems like littering, anti-social behaviour, drug taking and drug dealing and racing cars: "I'm sure residents would welcome upgrades to cameras in that area.

"However cameras alone don't solve problems.

"What I'm looking for from you is that we'll be using these cameras to maximum effect to deploy officers... so that when these anti-social behaviours and crimes are in progress we can nip them in the bud and move them on."

The Northern Echo: Cllr Matthew Snedker. Picture: Northern Echo.Cllr Matthew Snedker. Picture: Northern Echo.

Cllr Renton replied: "I completely agree. Our CCTV cameras not only work as a prevention tool... but also they do work in terms of being able to spot these incidents."

The cabinet agreed to release £513,500 for the upgrade.

The CCTV system was introduced in the 1990s and expanded to 122 public space cameras.

in 2021 to 2022 the CCTV control room worked with the police on 1,345 requests which included providing 565 recordings and 654 requests to view footage.


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