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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 June, 2003, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
CCTV camera numbers spiral
The CCTV centre
Chief Superintendent Dave Murray was on hand to launch the cameras
The number of CCTV cameras scanning the streets of Reading has undergone a major increase - with more than 380 now operating.

The number of cameras in the town centre alone has doubled since the Thames Valley Police scheme was first set up seven years ago.

In 1996, there were 12 cameras operating in the town centre together with three cameras in Whitley.

At that time, other coverage police wanted was carried out by accessing existing council highways cameras and the force's helicopter camera.

Now operators can view 160 cameras in the Oracle shopping centre alone.

Useful tool

There are a further 94 in the Queen's Road car park, 50 at Reading train station, four in the John Lewis department store, four in Southcote, five in Oxford Road as well as 12 new cameras in the town centre itself.

Chief Superintendent Dave Murray said: "CCTV is a milestone in the campaign to reduce crime and the fear of crime on this police area.

"It is not a solution to crime on its own but it is a very useful tool for officers.

"CCTV is also a deterrent. There will always be a small criminal element who continue to offend - the fact that almost 3,000 people have been caught breaking the law on CCTV so far proves that - but I also believe the cameras will deter offenders."

All the cameras are linked to a viewing gallery based at Reading police station.

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