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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 September 2006, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
Town trials talking CCTV cameras
Street offenders on Teesside are being shamed by "talking" CCTV cameras.

Seven cameras in Middlesbrough town centre have a facility, which allows operators to bark orders at those involved in anti-social behaviour.

Officials hope the additions to the town's 160 cameras will help to further reduce street crime.

It is the latest crime prevention move for Middlesbrough, whose elected mayor is Ray Mallon, the former senior police officer who was dubbed Robocop.

Barry Coppinger, Middlesbrough Council's executive member for community safety, said: "CCTV is making Middlesbrough safer and this added facility will make it more effective.

'Community safety'

"For example, if an operative now sees someone dropping litter, they can tell them to pick it up, or if they see an incident starting to get out of hand, they can give advice that will hopefully nip it in the bud.

"I think that it will give people extra confidence as they go about their business and re-enforce the message that Middlesbrough is a place that is constantly thinking about community safety."

A similar "talking" system was piloted in Wiltshire in 2003.

Mr Coppinger added: "Middlesbrough's CCTV network is one of the most comprehensive in the UK and in 2005 was responsible for helping net 678 offenders. "It was also responsible for helping locate 15 missing people."

The system is managed from a command centre in the town's main bus station and linked to Cleveland Police headquarters.

It is hoped to install another three "talking" cameras in Middlesbrough by April 2007.

The CCTV camera telling people off

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