Swadlincote town centre is to get a new £15,000 CCTV system to combat a massive increase in shoplifting in the last 12 months.
Proposals have been approved to replace the town's old CCTV network with a new one following an upsurge in crime, mainly attributed to shoplifters.
The town's seven existing cameras were installed in 2010 at a cost of £43,000 but have needed an increasing amount of repairs over the last 18 months.
Now South Derbyshire District Council is to replace the old cameras with 11 new static CCTV ones. The cost of the new scheme, including installation and training, will be approximately £15,000.
The plan is to replace the existing seven cameras with 11 new ones based at the same locations.
The council’s housing and community services committee approved the proposal at a meeting on Thursday, November 23, and the money for the replacement scheme will come from the authority's Safer South Derbyshire Partnership cash reserves.
The committee heard that the need for CCTV in the town was evident as there were over twice as many crimes (424) reported in the town centre during the 12-month period between October 2016 and September 2017 as there were in any other area of South Derbyshire, with the second highest number 178.
Councillors were told there had also been an increase of crime in the Swadlincote centre ward of 17.1 per cent during the 12 month period between October 2016 and September 2017, much of which was due to shoplifting.
A report to the committee said: "Swadlincote’s existing seven-camera public CCTV system has over the past 18 months required an increasing amount of attention in terms of repairs and replacement of parts. At nearly eight years old, a decision has been made that it will be more cost-effective and beneficial to the police to replace the existing cameras rather than continuing to pay to have the old ones repaired."
At present it costs £1,600 to maintain the cameras each year, plus the occasional call out for repairs which has until this year totalled no more than a few hundred pounds per year.
The report added: "With the system approaching eight years old the cameras are beginning to show signs of wear and tear and that they need replacing."
The current position of the cameras are:
• Swadlincote Library
• Post Office.
• West Street
• Dean and Smedley
• William Hill
• Civic Way
• Rink Passage
Following consultations with the police and talks with three CCTV suppliers it was agreed the current cameras should be replaced by new static cameras.
The report added: "It was agreed replacing the existing PTZ cameras with two wide angled lens cameras at each location would give as good coverage, would be less likely to miss an incident and would also be a cheaper option than the more expensive PTZ cameras."
Sergeant Graham Summers, the South Derbyshire Safer Neighbourhood Police sergeant, is backing the move to replace the cameras. He said in the report: "The last two years (with antisocial behaviour and shoplifting increases) have presented challenges in the town centre and the ability to be able to recognise offenders (using CCTV) has proved very useful.
"CCTV enables the police to prove who the perpetrators are, to what extent anti-social behaviour has occurred and which 'shoplifters' are moving around the town and when. Quality of evidence from witnesses (who often do not see themselves as such) can be ‘shaky’ and as a consequence without CCTV we may miss the opportunity to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and bring offenders to justice."