Borough's CCTV network is 'among country's best' says police chief
It helped police make nearly 700 arrests in a single year, and now Stockton-on-Tees' CCTV network has won praise from Cleveland Police's most senior officer.
Chief Constable, Mike Veale, joined the force in March but has already been impressed by the quality of the Borough's CCTV network and the work of its operators.
And having made a personal visit to the CCTV control centre to see it for himself, he has declared it one of the country's best.
He said: "Working in partnership with local authorities has never been more critical to effective policing, and the Council's investment in high quality CCTV, operated by highly trained staff, provides us with invaluable round-the-clock support.
"It's especially helpful in the Borough's town centres, where it enables us to respond with great speed when incidents do occur. That was evident in a recent case in which a suspect was tracked, arrested and appeared in court within 36 hours.
"What this enables us to do is send out a very clear message that anybody coming into Stockton-on-Tees' town centres with the intention of committing criminal acts is highly likely to be apprehended very quickly.
"You only need to look at the number of arrests arising from CCTV leads to understand the importance of the network and its operatives - it really is as good as anything I've seen in the UK.
"And in Stockton town centre in particular, I've been really impressed by how the Council is working alongside the BID to prevent disorder, and their focus on early intervention."
Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Access, Communities and Community Safety, added: "I would echo Mike's comments about our CCTV network and our skilled, hardworking staff.
"CCTV plays a central role in the work we do to make the Borough a safer place and it's especially important at this time of unprecedented pressure on police and council resources.
"One thing's for sure - the job of our police force, as well as our own enforcement officers, would be a lot more difficult without it. That's why we are continuing to upgrade our CCTV technology to ensure it provides an effective service."
The Borough's CCTV network assisted in 683 arrests between April 2017 and April 2018.
A total of 4,020 incidents were recorded in this period.
Not all of these related to criminal activity - CCTV is regularly used for things such as helping to find missing children and vulnerable people.
There are 183 cameras, monitored 24/7/365 by a 17-strong team working shifts.
The team works closely with Cleveland Police and a constant audio feed from the force rings through the control room, enabling two way communication.
When police are searching for a wanted person they can send an image and a description to the team so they can assist.
Staff have to undergo thorough training lasting around six months before they are permitted to work on CCTV alone, and this is followed by ongoing training.