Harrogate CCTV service and Radiolink annual report 2022 to 2023

The CCTV control room

The CCTV control, based in a central Harrogate location, has entered its 26th year of operation. Since opening in 1997 the service has evolved significantly with the principle of keeping our community safe by undertaking proactive and reactive surveillance. 

The focus of this annual report is the public open space camera network covering Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon and the Radionlink service provided to our retail and night time economy customers. 

The CCTV service is a council owned, managed and funded facility. The CCTV service works closely with North Yorkshire Police in the prevention and detection of crime, sharing of intelligence and live communications through the force control room. 

The cameras record 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with support from a dedicated and qualified team of CCTV operators who provide proactive and responsive surveillance.

It has been a challenging year from a recruitment perspective with the team making every effort to keep operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The support of a small team of casual staff working alongside full time operators has proved successful. 

We envisage there will be changes and opportunities in the months ahead and the commitment and expertise of the team will ensure that we deliver and work closely with our partners.

Purpose of the public open space CCTV camera network

The primary objective of the CCTV scheme is to provide a safe public environment for the benefit of those who live, trade, visit, service and enjoy the facilities of the area. This objective will be carried out by the proactive monitoring of the system, so as to:

  • assist in the detection and prevention of crime and antisocial behaviour along with the maintenance of public order
  • facilitate the apprehension and prosecution of offenders in relation to crime and public order
  • prevent or mitigate interruptions to traffic flow - not to endorse minor breaches of traffic law
  • reduce the fear of crime and provide reassurance to the public
  • provide the police and the council with evidence to take criminal and civil action in the courts
  • assist in improving the environment in the areas monitored including town and city centres
  • provide assistance to emergency services
  • assist third parties with evidence to take criminal and civil actions

CCTV code of practice

The annual review of the code of practice has taken place with only minor updates. The code of practice reflects the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and other relevant legislation. The CCTV scheme is registered with the Information Commissioners Office.

This report sets out the purpose of the CCTV system owned and managed by the council. 


Our CCTV code of practice requires us to record and publish information in relation to any complaints it receives about CCTV. For the review period, no complaints were received. 

Management responsibility - CCTV code of practice and compliance

Management responsibility for the monitoring, operation and technical maintenance of the CCTV scheme is undertaken by the council with a maintenance contract in place to deal with faults and replacement CCTV equipment. The community safety and CCTV manager is the named single point of contact with the CCTV Commissioner. 

An annual assessment takes place to ensure that there are no specific privacy implications. With a number of environmental changes taking place it is essential that this is carefully considered. 

The CCTV Commissioner's 12 principles

The CCTV control room complies with the 12 principles outlined by the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner. These guiding principles allow a system operator to establish a clear rationale for any overt surveillance camera deployment in public places and to run any such system effectively, which helps ensure compliance with other legal duties. 

The CCTV Commissioner's 12 principles are:

  1. Use of a surveillance camera system must always be for a specified purpose which is in pursuit of a legitimate aim and necessary to meet an identified pressing need. 
  2. The user of a surveillance camera system must take into account its effect on individuals and their privacy, with regular reviews to ensure its use remains justified.
  3. There must be as much transparency in the use of the surveillance camera system as possible, including a published contact point for access to information and complaints. 
  4. There must be clear responsibility and accountability for all surveillance camera system activities including images and information collected, held and used.
  5. Clear rules, policies and procedures must be in place before a surveillance camera system is used, and these must be communicated to all who need to comply with them.
  6. No more images and information should be stored than that which is strictly required for the stated purpose of a surveillance camera system, and such images and information should be deleted once their purposes have been discharged. 
  7. Access to retained images and information should be restricted and there must be clearly defined rules on who can gain access and for what purpose such access is granted - the disclosure of images and information should only take place when it is necessary for such a purpose or for law enforcement purposes. 
  8. Surveillance camera system operators should consider any approved operational, technical and competency standards relevant to a system and its purpose and work to meet and maintain those standards. 
  9. Surveillance camera system images and information should be subject to appropriate security measures to safeguard against unauthorised access and use.
  10. There should be effective review and audit mechanisms to ensure legal requirements, policies and standards are complied with in practice, and regular reports should be published. 
  11. When the use of a surveillance camera system is in pursuit of a legitimate aim, and there is a pressing need for its use, it should then be used in the most effective way to support public safety and law enforcement with the aim of processing images and information of evidential value.
  12. Any information used to support a surveillance camera system which compares against a reference database for matching purposes should be accurate and kept up to date. 

The CCTV service undertakes an annual Privacy Impact Assessment on all public open space cameras and any cameras located in a council building or new schemes being proposed.

The control room is able to communicate via airwaves directly to the police. This collaborative approach provides a real time response and maximises opportunities to obtain the best evidence.

Approval for airwaves use within the control room is approved by the Home Office via a TEA2 licence working alongside North Yorkshire Police. In addition to the licence a Memorandum of Understanding is in place with North Yorkshire Police in relation to CCTV including charges.

All staff undertake an approved Security Industry Authority BTEC CCTV Course and hold the front line or management licences.

Our camera network

Operating and maintaining an extensive network of cameras requires vigilance. Each camera is checked at the beginning of each shift to ensure that it has no faults and has full functionality.

The CCTV control room manages a network of 67 public open spaces cameras and 206 cameras that are situated in council buildings and directly linked to the control room. It was the policy of Harrogate Borough Council for a number of years that, wherever possible, all CCTV 
systems should be directly linked to the control room. This ensures that all data is managed effectively and a consistent approach is adopted. This is subject to review following the establishment of North Yorkshire Council in April 2023.

This table shows the number of cameras in different areas in 2021 to 2022 and in 2022 to 2023. 

Area Cameras in 2021 - 22 Cameras in 2022 - 23
Harrogate town centre and surrounding areas 45 45
Starbeck 1 1
Knaresborough town 8 8
Ripon city 10 10
Parks 3 3
Council multi storey car parks 54 58
Leisure centres 93 38 - during the refurbishment of the Hydro a number of cameras have been temporarily decommissioned
Other council buildings 75 109
Deployable camera 1 1

The increase to the cameras linked to the control room include new schemes at Knaresborough Community Centre and an updated scheme at the Turkish Baths. Work continues at the Hydro and Knaresborough Pool and aims to be completed during 2023.

A live feed to the police at Beckwith Head Police Station and the highways engineers at Boroughbridge for traffic management has been in place for many years and demonstrates a collaborative approach.

Our performance - April 2022 to March 2023

During the last year, the CCTV operators have dealt with 4160 incidents - an increase of 134 from the previous year - and produced 169 pieces of evidence for North Yorkshire Police and undertaken 122 reviews totalling 54 hours. We also received 7 requests from insurance companies for evidence all relating to road traffic collisions. 

The CCTV service recharges for all evidence produced in accordance with the councils fees and charges.

CCTV operators have continued to provide a proactive approach to surveillance with the focus on preventing and detecting crime and supporting the police and other front line businesses.

This table shows the number of different types of incidents and whether there has been an increase, a decrease or no change.

Type of incident Number Change
Drink associated 90 Increased by 8
Anti-social behaviour 580 Decreased by 17
Theft from a vehicle / theft of a vehicle 32 Increased by 2
Drug associated 86 No change
Assault or violence  313 Decreased by 30
Shoplifting 287 Increased by 100
Traffic observations 946 Increased by 94
Criminal damage 53 Decreased by 19
Missing or vulnerable person / welfare concerns 680 Increased by 46
Possession of offensive weapon 35 Increased by 4
Robbery 21 Decreased by 2
Maintenance faults - non urgent 148 Increased by 51
Maintenance faults - urgent 16 Increased by 9

Case studies

Case study one

CCTV control room received a report over the radio from a Shopwatch member stating they had £640 worth of skincare products stolen approximately 15 minutes before they realised. The CCTV operator reviewed the footage from the nearest camera and found two suspects, matching clothing descriptions, leaving the premises and getting into a vehicle.

The vehicle could then be followed from camera to camera by reviewing the recorded footage. 

From the recorded footage, the CCTV operator was able to pinpoint an exact time the vehicle passed a police Automatic Number Plate Recognition camera, the operator then informed police who were able to identify a registration plate. This resulted in the vehicle being stopped and the occupants being arrested.

Case study two

The police control room passed a description of a female who was reported missing in Harrogate, there were also concerns for her welfare. A short while later, the CCTV operator on duty located the female sitting on the edge of a platform at a train station. The operator then informed police who contacted British Transport Police to halt any trains in the area.

Police officers then went and engaged with the female whilst the CCTV operator kept the police control room updated with any developments.

The female eventually left with police officers to a place of safety and the trains resumed.

Case study three

CCTV control room monitor closing time at a popular night club, two males were seen arguing in the road then one of the males brings a knife out of his jeans and threatens the other male. The CCTV operator on duty immediately informs the police and gives them a running commentary of the incident.

The male with the knife is then seen to stab the other male and both parties run off separate ways.

Police are directed to the offender by CCTV and he is arrested.

The victim sought medical attention and then called police to report the incident.

Radiolink and business crime partnership update

During 2023 Harrogate District Businesses Against Crime maintained an average of 77 Radiolink members a month. Due to the cost of living crisis, there were a number of shops and bars which unfortunately had to close down or cancel their subscription. However, there was an equal number of premises that were eager to join the scheme.

Each member has a radio which allows them to report incidents to the CCTV control room 

and other members. Additional training is planned during 2023-24 to assist new and existing radio users.

Radiolink members received three Shopwatch intelligence packs throughout the year. These packs are used by shop and security staff to identify shoplifters and criminals in their stores.

The Board of Management is made up of representatives from the scheme and meets on a regular basis. The board makes the decisions when an individual can be banned from specific premises.

There are close links to Harrogate Pubwatch who are responsible for deciding who is banned from licensed premises in Harrogate.

This table shows the Harrogate District Businesses Against Crime CCTV Radiolink partnership performance. 

Performance indicator Number
Incidents reported to CCTV by Harrogate District Businesses Against Crime members 1095
Retailers on the scheme 54
Pubs and clubs on the scheme 22
Intelligence packs issued 3
Intelligence presentations and meetings 1

2023 to 2024 priorities

The priorities for the Radiolink and business crime partnership are to:

  • increase membership
  • increase the frequency of intelligence packs for members
  • deliver radio training
  • deliver an Artful Dodger partner participation event

Further information

For more information on the Harrogate District Businesses Against Crime scheme, please contact us.

Future opportunities and collaboration

On 1 April 2023 the district and borough councils across North Yorkshire - excluding York - ceased to exist and a new North Yorkshire Council was introduced.

There are CCTV control rooms in Harrogate, Northallerton, Selby and Scarborough.

These control rooms have been working collaboratively and will continue to explore opportunities in the future including common working practices, joint procurement and alternative and enhanced working models and partnership working.

There will be opportunities for transformation in relation to public open space cameras networks and surveillance across North Yorkshire in the future.

Contact us

Please contact us for more information.

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