Closed circuit television (CCTV)

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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:

  • It deters crime
    CCTV was introduced first and foremost to serve as a deterrent to crime. The Emergency Services Centre, and the CCTV evidence collated, has featured in a number of high-profile cases, proving invaluable in the fight against crime.
  • It helps to attract new business
    CCTV has been an effective tool in addressing the fear of crime and plays a key role in helping to attract new businesses to the area, in particular those boosting the night-time economy.
  • It helps protect people
    Aside from helping Police with hundreds of incidents and court cases each year, the cameras have also helped to prevent a number of suicide attempts and have been able to give assistance with other problems, including locating lost children or helping people who have collapsed in the street.

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.

About the new Code of Practice

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:

  • CCTV is there to support and protect the public and the public need to have confidence this is happening;
  • Principle of transparency;
  • Enable the public to be reassured that their privacy is not being invaded and what to do if they have any concerns.

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.

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