We recently arranged the installation of a new WIFI-based CCTV system across Newbury town centre for 2022 and beyond.
We first became responsible for the town centre CCTV in 2017, when there was no operating agreement in place for the service, leaving public safety in the town centre at risk of being compromised.
We stepped in on the condition that this was cost neutral for the not-for-profit organisation and its levy-paying businesses, securing funding from both Thames Valley Police and Newbury Town Council to pay for the ongoing operating costs and management of the system.
However, some three years later when joining the team in 2020, our Operations Manager, Alison Drummond, quickly recognised that the system was not fit for purpose. The CCTV, inherited from West Berkshire Council, operated via an old BT analogue system, which consistently failed and incurred high running costs that were unsustainable long-term.
It hasn’t been a quick or easy process for the BID to agree on and procure a new up-to-date CCTV system that’s fit for the future. Operations Manager, Alison Drummond, enlisted help from Kennet Centre Manager, Richard Farley and Thames Valley Police experts, to determine the new WIFI-based CCTV. We undertook an extensive procurement process to secure the most comprehensive and suitable system and cameras on the market with a reputable supplier. The recently installed system not only provides future savings for the public purse but ensures the ongoing safety of the town centre for residents, businesses, and visitors.
The CCTV is largely funded by Thames Valley Police with additional funding from Newbury Town Council. Newbury BID continues to provide resource and management time free of charge on behalf of the town centre’s businesses, playing their part in ensuring CCTV coverage is in place to help maintain the security of business premises, reduce crime, and promote a safe environment.
By updating the system from cable to WIFI with new supplier, Scion, the ongoing operating costs are significantly reduced, meaning the current funding will cover all costs until 2025. Scion is based locally in Thatcham and has over 17 years of technical experience and knowledge. They already provide CCTV support to Greenham Business Park, Reading Football Club, Newbury Town Council, and Newbury Academy Trust Schools, to name but a few.
We’re currently preparing to go to ballot over a 4-week period, giving more than 500 levy-paying businesses in the town centre the opportunity to vote for a further five year term. However, if the BID do not receive a YES vote from over half of eligible levy-payers, the BID organisation will cease, and the continuation of the town centre CCTV could be at risk once again. Public services simply do not have the resources or capacity to manage the system.
Alison Drummond, Operations Manager of Newbury BID, says:
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