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CCTV with direct access to control room installed across the country

The camera technology was first pioneered in Nottinghamshire but is now being implemented in force areas across the country.

The Refuge Point camera system combines CCTV cameras with the ability to speak with the control room in an emergency. 

The project, led by Nottinghamshire OPCC, was funded through the Home Office’s Safer Streets programme, with the first cameras being installed in Sutton-in-Ashfield. 

Members of the public use a’panic button’ which is fed through to CCTV control room staff. Calls can then be relayed to the relevant force’s control room if the caller is deemed to be at risk. 

Upon activation, operations can risk assess a scene via a PTZ (Pan, tilt, zoom) camera. The technology has been fitted to poles which are painted white to make them easier to identify. 

Each Refuge Point has three cameras - one inside the help point, a fixed CCTV camera 2.5m from the ground and a further PTZ that will record and monitor the incident once activated. 

If the connection is lost at any point, the operator is able to dial back to the refuge point. 

Wireless CCTV, the company commissioned to create the devices, has since installed further cameras in Durham and Northampton with plans to do the same in Cardiff and Devon and Cornwall. 

Three more devices will also be installed in Kirkby-in-Ashfield in Nottinghamshire. 

Nottinghamshire PCC Caroline Henry said: “The idea was a trail-blazer and it came from talking to women in focus groups about what we could do to make women and girls feel safe in public spaces. 

“They told us that, when they went out, they would try to walk through public places where they knew shops would be open so they could get help in an emergency, or if they felt they were being followed.

“But when shops were closed, this meant they felt less safe as there were fewer places to get help.

“That’s what sparked the idea of having a highly-visible CCTV camera system that gave people an instant and 24-hour direct line to the control room.” 

Security specialists in Queensland, Australia have also reportley contacted Ashfield District Council about the project. 

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