City upgrades CCTV to aid public safety

01 March 2018

The city of Salford, a metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, includes the towns of Eccles, Swinton, Walkden and Irlam, and has a population of more than 245,000.

Salford City Council operates 120 public space CCTV cameras, covering eight neighbourhoods, which are monitored at a central control room in the civic centre. It is linked to police radios so staff can immediately send alerts about incidents, missing people or persons wanted for questioning and other intelligence. They also provided evidence for Operation Pandora, the council’s crackdown on fly-tippers.

The council says information provided by its CCTV team has helped police make 177 arrests since April 2017.

In low light, cameras previously used by the council often failed to capture clear and effective images. Then Salford’s principal community safety officer, Stephen Kearney, was introduced to a different brand, Hikvision, when a house builder suggested using them to monitor a new development.

Kearney says he had not heard of the brand and was not sure about using untried and untested cameras: “So we didn’t install them at the development. We put them on the rooftop of one of our corporate buildings, and the next day the CCTV operatives called me and said you’ve got to see this – these are the best cameras we’ve got.” He also says, the cameras are more reliable, much cheaper and use less bandwidth, cutting the cost of storage and transmission.

After using two of Hikvision’s Darkfightercameras in Operation Pandora, further PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) domes were installed taking the number to more than 30.

They were supplied by distributor ezCCTV and most are DS-2DF8223I-AEL PTZnetwork domes. Hikvision says that as well as excellent low-light performance, they have a 23X optical zoom day/night lens, HD1080p video images and functions which include face detection, intrusion detection, line crossing detection and audio exception.

The council recently started using the company’s new Darkfighter Xrange which, says Hikvision, provides increased 25x zoom, plus a small number of DS-2CD4A85-IZS4K Ultra HD bullet cameras.

Kearney says: “The new cameras auto focus instantly and intelligently. Previous cameras might auto focus on an object rather than the person behind it. These cameras almost seem to know that you want to capture the person, not the object. They also zoom so fast you can now capture someone running or a moving vehicle’s number plate.”