Residents are being encouraged to join a scheme which helps police investigating crimes find relevant CCTV footage more quickly.
CCTV Watch involves mapping locations of all privately owned cameras so that any opportunities to gather footage can be quickly identified by officers, should a crime occur in that particular area.
If a crime does occur, officers can complete a CCTV trawl in a matter of minutes via text or email, using the Constabulary’s OWL (Online Watch Link) messaging system.
OWL is part of Neighbourhood Watch which allows people to receive free messages and alerts about crimes and events in their area.
Information about the owners of the cameras and their locations will be routinely collected during house to house enquiries and added to a database by officers. This information will only be seen by police and will not be in the public domain.
PC Mo Huzair from the Watford Safer Neighbourhood Team is leading the project and said: “It is hoped that this initiative will help to speed up investigations as we will have a better idea of where CCTV cameras are and can complete trawls for footage much quicker. We already have a number of cameras mapped and feedback from members of the public has been very positive so far.”
Following the trial period in Watford, the scheme will be rolled out across the county.
If you have a CCTV system you would like to add to the database, please email Watch Liaison Officer Philip Waine at email@example.com
For more information about OWL, or to sign up, visit www.owl.co.uk
If you are considering installing your own CCTV system please ensure that you follow the Government guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/domestic-cctv-using-cctv-systems-on-your-property/domestic-cctv-using-cctv-systems-on-your-property