CCTV was introduced into Ipswich town centre in 1994. Cameras are monitored from a control room known as the Emergency Services Centre (ESC), which is based in Ipswich Borough Council's headquarters, Grafton House.
CCTV provides three main benefits:
Although operated totally independently from the Police, close cooperation with the constabulary has existed from day one and the camera locations were chosen after careful consideration by the Council and the Police.
Cameras principally cover car parks, subways and the main shopping areas, but their usage is widespread, with additional coverage at some schools, sports centres, commercial areas and wherever there is an evaluated need.
Use of the Police 'Airwaves' radio system, together with the 'Town-Link/Pub Watch Radio System' used by stores detectives and club doormen, helps maintain effective communication between all the different agencies involved. This also includes close working with other groups such as the Street Rangers and Town Pastors.
All staff in the ESC are Security Industry Association accredited and Ipswich Borough Council enforces a code of practice which ensures that the system is operated both effectively and legally, adhering to all current legislation including the Data Protection Act and Human Rights Act.
Ipswich Borough Council adheres to the Information Commissioner's Office CCTV Code of Practice and the Home Office Surveillance Camera Code of Practice which is outlined below.
In June 2013 a new surveillance camera code of practice was published by the Home Office. The aim is to create more transparent, proportionate and accountable Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems.
The code applies to the use of surveillance camera systems that operate in public spaces in England and Wales. Relevant authorities must have regard to the code 'when exercising any of the functions to which the Code relates'.
The new code of practice is based on Surveillance by Consent:
The code will bring together a single set of guidance to help the public to understand why/how surveillance is being used.
The new Code of Practice will bring a sharper focus on our procedures to bring accountability and greater information to the public inspiring trust and confidence.