Plans to overhaul outdated CCTV system in Tayside which is ‘no longer fit for purpose’

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The CCTV system covering Tayside is set for a complete overhaul after being described as “no longer fit for purpose”.

The monitoring equipment at Forfar police station is so old that it still uses cathode ray tube monitors although its recording equipment has been updated from VHS tapes.

There are currently 87 cameras in public spaces in Dundee, 51 operating in Angus towns and 35 in the Perth and Kinross area.

Under plans drawn up in collaboration with local councils and Police Scotland, the entire system would be replaced with monitoring centralised in Dundee.

The replacement system would use the latest digital camera and interpretation software technology, which enables faster responses to situations such as missing persons.

It is also expected that the maintenance costs – which totalled more than £250,000 in the last four years in Dundee alone – will be reduced.

The Tayside Procurement Consortium has advertised for companies to supply, deliver, install and maintain the new system.

An event for potential suppliers was also held last month as the strategy and specification of the new system’s requirements are being developed.

The advert states that the current system is “outdated and no longer fit for purpose”.

The budget for the replacement system has not been specified, other than stating the figure will be in excess of £1m.

A report to Angus councillors about the progress of the plans stressed the importance of the system being upgraded.

It said: “The cameras’ infrastructure (in Angus) was installed some time ago and whilst it has serviced the authority well it is in need of updating and asset renewal from the existing analogue equipment.

“Cameras are currently monitored by Police Scotland in Forfar or Dundee, and the monitoring equipment in Forfar is now dated cathode ray monitors, although the recording equipment has been updated from the previous VHS tape recorder.

“The opportunity of a collaborative approach across the three councils in conjunction with Police Scotland has examined the options of combining all three council and police services into a central service in Dundee whilst retaining the ability to monitor cameras locally if required.

“This system has the ability to take advantage of the latest technology in terms of digital cameras and interpretation software which enables faster responses to situations such as missing persons.”

The report adds the annual maintenance cost of the CCTV infrastructure could be reduced by using upgraded technology such as cameras being operated by wi-fi rather than being hardwired.

Angus Council will also look at expanding the appropriate use of CCTV for assisting in its service delivery, such as traffic and parking management.

A year ago Fife Council approved spending half of the £390,000 needed for a maintenance programme that saw the CCTV equipment across the county brought up to date. The Fife network supports 102 cameras across 12 towns.

Police Scotland said the CCTV system was the responsibility of local authorities.