Police Scotland is pressing for a single, centralised CCTV network

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The Scottish police force is pushing for a centralised CCTV network to cover the country’s streets, shops and public spaces after warning most of the current cameras are ageing, unreliable and potentially unlawful, a recent news report in a major media outlet has been able to reveal.

Police Scotland has told Scottish ministers it wants to scrap what it sees as an outdated system of local, decentralised control over 2,800 CCTV cameras and replace it with a single police-run national network using high-definition digital cameras, installed at a cost of at least £10m.

The proposal is the central recommendation of a confidential Police Scotland review from 2013 that warns many of Scotland’s ageing CCTV systems are close to collapse; a large number are kept running using second-hand parts bought at high cost and are at risk of “instant failure”, it claims.

The Police Scotland review found 80% of the country’s public-space CCTV cameras – a definition that excludes schools, hospitals and housing association land, were old analogue systems.

Furthermore, 85% of the “matrices” – the recording, control systems and TV monitors that back them up, were analogue, while 80% also used analogue communications systems. While nearly all the cameras were now hybrids, with retrofitted digital encoders, they were vulnerable to complete failure if analogue parts broke down.

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