£1.2m upgrade of CCTV set to improve public safety

Merton Cabinet approved the award of a contract for a £1.2m upgrade of the borough’s CCTV on Monday 11 October, updating a system that currently has some cameras which are more than 20 years old.

The decision will bring Merton’s network up to the level of London-wide systems and those in other boroughs, and will increase levels of public protection, guaranteeing safety on our streets for drivers and pedestrians across hundreds of public spaces, and helping secure evidence of anti-social behaviour and environmental crime.

Footage from CCTV has frequently alerted the police of crimes taking place and then further supported them to catch the individuals involved. In just under five months from April to August this year, almost 2,000 incidents across the borough were captured by the current system.

The contract, which will see the successful bidder upgrade and maintain the system for four years, with an option to extend for 12 or 24 further months, will also see Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras introduced that will monitor the enforcement of school streets. The contract will be awarded on Tuesday 26 October.

There are currently 150 public safety CCTV cameras operated for Merton, which will need to be upgraded from analogue – essentially hard-copy tape storage – to High Definition (HD) digital quality. This will require the installation of fibre lines to transmit data from the cameras, which will run alongside a wireless system.

Cllr Agatha Akyigyina, Cabinet Member for Partnerships, Public Safety and Tackling Crime, said: “When we launched CCTV in Merton in 1994 there were just four cameras and it only had one operator!

“We now have a system of 212 public space cameras monitored by seven full-time staff which helps to keep residents safe and provides a general feeling of security across the borough. This is shown by requests from across Merton for installation of CCTV systems.

“I’m delighted that this new investment will enable us to provide communities with reassurance and will be used to enforce cleaner and safer streets across the borough.”