Since CCTV was introduced into Northampton in 1992, it has become a valuable tool in helping to detect and deter crime. The police work with the CCTV Control Room team in an effort to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. The CCTV system also supports neighbourhood wardens and environmental health officers in undertaking their duties.
CCTV operators monitor the CCTV cameras proactively looking for offences or issues that require attention. CCTV operators also monitor the police airwave radios. When an incident occurs, the operators use the cameras to assist the police in detecting offenders, providing evidence admissible in court to assist convictions and helping to improve perceptions of safety.
- the CCTV cameras have very powerful lenses and can identify an offender by their face at 150 metres and can identify an offender by their clothing at 200 metres. At 200 metres, the offender cannot even see the CCTV camera
- the CCTV Control Room is manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
- the control room monitors cameras in Northampton and Wellingborough
- the majority of camera signals are brought back to the control room using fibre optic links, although some cameras are hard-wired direct to the control room, some come back via a dedicated microwave link and some by broadband
- the CCTV controllers have a direct radio link to shops and licensed premises through the Retail Radio Link and Pub-link - radio networks that keep members in touch with information about suspicious activity and give speedy contact if an incident takes place
- we have direct audio and video access with the police headquarters, enabling the police to monitor incidents as they occur
- the CCTV system is audited once a year by the National Security Inspectorate. You can request a copy of the CCTV Annual Report by emailing the CCTV Control Room Manager (see below)
- complaints about CCTV can be made by contacting the Town Centre Manager as per section 4.1.3 of the Code of Practice.
The recording process
The CCTV Control Room monitors 429 cameras.
Privacy zones are programmed onto the cameras. This is a graphical mask programmed into the camera by the manager, to block out private areas such as flats and offices. These cannot be removed unless a request is received from a senior police officer. They can then only be removed by authorised personnel. A copy of the Privacy Impact Assessment is available on request.
Every camera records 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, using a digital recording platform. The system records each camera at a rate of 4 frames per second and each image is retained for 30 days. That's a massive amount of storage space used; however, the playback quality is remarkable. There are no facilities for sound on the cameras, nor on each of the 112 monitors in the CCTV Control Room. This, along with the privacy zones, helps us to keep to civil liberties requirements.
Public access to recordings
Legislation relating to the collation of public CCTV images is very strict, as is viewing the images. It is important that we fully understand and adhere to the Data Protection Act of 2018. We are also duty bound by legislation relating to the European Convention on Human Rights and the RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers) Act of 2000.
Anyone can be given access to video footage of themselves or of their own personal property if it is held; however, requests to view activities of a third person will not be investigated, unless it is a police officer or other authorised person making enquiries to help reduce or detect crime and disorder issues within the locality.
If you wish to see video footage of yourself or your property contact our Records Management department by email or in writing. To help us locate the footage we will need:
- time, date, exact location
- description of your vehicle (make model and registration details)
- details of the incident
Images are only held for 30 days. We cannot assist if the incident was prior to the last 30 days.
Once the footage has been examined, you will be contacted in writing to tell you the outcome of the search. If you then wish to view the video footage for yourself, a CD/DVD will be prepared so that the identity of every other person or vehicle or personal property of a third person is removed from the footage before we can allow you to view it. This viewing will incur a charge.
To request CCTV footage/images, please email the Freedom Of Information (FOI) Team at [email protected].
For security reasons the control room is not contactable by the public. Please report all incidents to Northamptonshire Police on 101. They will liaise with the CCTV Control Room staff.
We operate a strict Code of Practice, modelled on Home Office-approved code. This covers all aspects of CCTV operation including the operators' use of the cameras with regards to privacy issues.
Visit the CCTV Control Room
You are welcome to come along as an organised group and view the CCTV Control Room and to speak to the staff working the cameras; to arrange a visit please email the Transport Facilities and CCTV Manager at [email protected].
Last updated 15 November 2023