Agenda item

CCTV on Housing Estates


The Service Manager (Housing Operations) informed Members of the current provision of closed circuit television (CCTV) systems on council managed housing estates and updated them on future plans.


There are currently 130 CCTV cameras across 10 sites and all units operate and record 24 hours / 7 days a week but they are not actively monitored. Data is only obtained by request when there is a legitimate reason to do so or requested by Kent Police.


Since taking on responsibility for the Caretaking Service the Service Manager has identified a range of issues which has highlighted a number of operational difficulties and shortcomings in relation to CCTV:


·         There has been no investment in the equipment and a number of cameras were not fully operational and the quality of the footage was poor on many that did work

·         There is no maintenance contract in place or inspection regime to identify potential faults

·         Any requests for footage from Kent Police results in the Estate Services Manager spending hours trawling through and downloading the relevant footage taking him away from essential caretaking duties

·         Lack of prosecutions due to the individual committing the crime being a minor. The majority of crimes were linked to vandalism with £5,000 of damage on lifts alone in the last 12 months. If the cameras had been monitored the act of vandalism may have been stopped at an earlier stage

·         There has been some extremely serious incidents such as violent attacks on some of the estates which may have had a different outcome if the cameras had been monitored. These generally happen outside of the working day when there is no council presence on site


The council will enter into a contract with an external provider, Kindy, to provide an observational and retrieval function of the CCTV cameras on the housing estates. This will allow operators to view real time footage via a central control room with the ability to retrieve any archived footage. As part of this agreement there will be an upgrade of equipment and infrastructure as well as on-going maintenance and upkeep.


The council will promote the health, safety and security of the residents, staff and other users of buildings, communal areas and open spaces where the council has a controlling interest. It will maintain the asset value of properties and equipment by deterring vandalism or theft. It will also assist in the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour.


The new provision will be widely publicised to act as a deterrent for any potential future incidents but also to reinforce to residents that their voice matters and we are listening to their requests and will go live in October.


Discussions have also taken place with Kindy around longer term aspirations of introducing a concierge service to some of our high-rise stock. The improvement of the CCTV provision will be complemented by the upgrading of lighting, both internally and externally as well as widening the door entry systems to restrict unauthorised access to the landing areas of our buildings.


In response to Member questions, the Service Manager (Housing Operations) and the Director (Housing) explained that:


·         Housing Estate cameras have always been separate to the corporate ones in the town centre which are monitored by Medway Council / Kindy

·         There is sufficient money in the budget to cover the capital investment in terms of upgrading the equipment and infrastructure but also the monitoring going forward. It does need to be kept under regular review to ensure it is value for money and achieving what we want it to achieve, a reduction in crime

·         Kindy is the Local Authority trading company for Medway Council and currently maintain our corporate licences

·         The Police are on board with what we are doing. We have had a number of successful prosecutions through our current operation but anything we do will be extra. The Environmental Enforcement Team will work with us to develop the processes

·         Working closely with the CSU in terms of bringing this provision forward as they already monitor through that partnership

·         If a crime is identified that will be dealt with by the Police, if it is anti-social behaviour there will be a process in place to contact the relevant team within the council or the Out of Hours service

·         Some authorities have rapid response teams who go out and clear up blood or glass and whilst it isn’t an emergency it is the quicker the better to get it cleared up so that is what we are working towards

·         There aren’t any plans to monitor cameras in the private sector as it is just social housing that falls into our responsibility. It is about our council housing estates but there is CCTV around the borough but it would be the responsibility of the private landlords if they wanted an enhanced system on their own land

·         There are cases of anti-social behaviour on Wallis Park and cameras are being used as evidence at the moment in terms of working with Housing and the CSU. If there is a perpetrator we do supply footage but with real time footage there is more opportunity to catch them at an earlier stage


The Committee noted the report on CCTV on Housing Estates.


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