Old analogue cameras have been replaced with state-of-the-art digital ones by North Somerset Council in a £300,000 upgrade of the public surveillance system.
The 80 new cameras in Clevedon, Nailsea, Portishead and Weston-super-Mare produce clearer images, providing better evidence to relevant enforcement agencies and when bringing prosecutions. They also help to maintain public order, prevent anti-social and other nuisance behaviour and provide reassurance to the public.
The new technology allows the police to log in, where authorised, and access the cameras remotely from agreed locations. The upgrade also includes separate mobile cameras which can be deployed to hotspots to deal with issues such as anti-social behaviour and littering.
The previous system had been in place for 20 years and was fast becoming obsolete. The upgrade has been made possible by contributions from the town councils in Clevedon, Nailsea, Portishead and Weston.
The cameras are monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by a team of fully trained operators at North Somerset Council's emergency control centre.
The operators have direct radio communication with the police, council enforcement officers, businesses and street wardens. They also deal with emergency out-of-hours calls to the council, lone worker monitoring and provide a dedicated operator for the night-time Carelink service.
"Our emergency control room plays a key role in preventing and responding to crime and disorder incidents, helping to keep residents and visitors to North Somerset safe," said Cllr Mike Solomon, executive member for neighbourhoods and community services.
"The huge advance in technology of cameras enables much higher definition images to be transmitted to the control room and gives our operators greater control of the cameras on the streets. We are already seeing positive outcomes including over a recent weekend when two drink drivers who could easily have caused serious harm to themselves or others were caught by the police."
Some of the Safer Streets funding awarded to the council to help tackle violence against women and girls will be used to provide re-deployable mobile digital CCTV cameras. These will be placed in locations with a disproportionate volume of offences, and a high level of fear of crime. They will have direct wi-fi transmission to the emergency control centre.