A NEW £200,000 network of crime-busting CCTV cameras has gone live across Inverclyde.

The new system, funded and operated by Inverclyde Council and Police Scotland, was activated on Monday.

It features state of the art 4G technology,with images from the cameras being stored in a data cloud, and also boasts mobile cameras.

Councillor Michael McCormick, convener of the council's environment and regeneration committee, said: “We are taking an innovative approach by using a 4G system rather than a radio or fibre-optic network.

"It will be fast and flexible and allow us to deploy cameras where they’re most needed without having to run cables from the camera to the monitoring suite.

“There is an ongoing problem with fly-tipping, for example, and this new system means that we will be able to quickly install cameras at locations where, up until now, dumb dumpers have been safe from surveillance.”

The system has 40 fixed cameras and four mobile ones.

The majority are located in town centres or at busy points on the road network and rather than transmitting along a fixed cable to the CCTV monitoring suite at Greenock Police Station, the cameras now record images to the cloud using the 4G mobile network and can extract clips when they are needed

This means monitoring staff can see the recordings in real time and removes the need for images to be recorded on a large bank of video recorders as before.

Councillor Tommy McVey, chair of the local police and fire scrutiny committee, said: “There’s no doubt about how valuable CCTV is in terms of preventing crime and helping the police detect crime and prosecute criminals.

“The new system allows cameras to be moved where and when required so the four mobile cameras can be used to monitor crime 'hotspots' and any other place where it’s suspected illegal or anti-social activity is happening.

"It will also mean safer streets for local people and will help to reassure them when they are out and about.”

The new cameras have motion sensors so that they only record when movement is detected, meaning that when council staff and police officers are reviewing an incident, they don’t have to watch hours of unnecessary footage.

The three CCTV vans, operated by the council’s community wardens, are also being upgraded with 4G cameras controlled and monitored by the CCTV operators remotely as well as by the wardens on site.

Sergeant Jason Logsdon, of Greenock police, who is local authority liaison officer, described the upgrade as a 'major step forward'.

He said: “This considerable investment in upgrading to a high quality CCTV system demonstrates commitment to Inverclyde residents as part of maintaining a safe, secure and responsible community for the public.

"CCTV provides the public with reassurance and is very useful for deterring and detecting offences as well as being a useful crime reduction tool.

"Working with our partners is important so we can jointly ensure community issues and complaints are addressed and prioritised.

"The previous system proved to be vital in a number of local cases and assisted Police Scotland in keeping people safe, bringing offenders to justice and reducing instances of anti-social behaviour, which can cause so many problems within our communities."