A quarter of Lincoln’s moving CCTV cameras are faulty, council admits

City of Lincoln councillors will discuss plans to overhaul its CCTV systems after a recent investigation found one in four moving cameras do not work correctly.

The city council operates 119 cameras across the city, 63 of which are the ageing Pan, Tilt and Zoom cameras which were installed in 1996.

Many of these cameras have been removed from their routine automatic patrol settings in an attempt to reduce the wear on their moving parts.

In 2014/15, the city council spent £111,937 on fibre rental (£44,167), essential equipment maintenance and replacement of the cameras (£67,700) – nearly £9,000 more than anticipated.

A number of options will be debated by the council at a meeting of the Executive on November 30, which include no investment in the existing system or negotiating a reduction in fibre rental costs.

However, the recommendation for councillors is to approve the installation of a wireless IP CCTV system, which would see data transferred online, to replace the current system which transmits over fibre optic cable.

The £300,000 system would also see the ageing cameras replaced.

If implemented the new system would save £543,000 on operating costs over five years and £764,000 over seven years.

Another option available to councillors is to approve new BT HD fibre optic cables and cameras, which could be fitted at an estimated cost of £200,000.

The upgrade would produce a £168,000 budget saving over the 2016/17 to 2020/21 period.

Of the 56 fixed cameras, 39 operate through the multiplex mode system, which allows the operator to access individual cameras during a live incident.

The equipment that provides this function is now obsolete, so any failure means awaiting specialist repair and a risk of it not being repairable at some stage.

The network has been a valuable resource for Lincolnshire Police during 2014/15, dealing with 14,000 incidents and assisting in 1,800 arrests.

Caroline Bird, Community Services Manager, said: “The city’s CCTV system is a vital tool to protect residents, businesses and visitors and is a much-needed support to our emergency services.

“The system has been in place for almost 20 years and as the age of the equipment increases so does the potential for something to go wrong. To prevent this from happening, we’ve considered a number of ways of how to improve the network, making the most of advancements in technology while being mindful of the costs involved.

“The option that’s being recommended to Executive uses the latest wireless technology as it provides a modern system that’s energy efficient, easily expandable and easily transferable to another building if City Hall was to become unavailable at any time.”