COUNCILLORS will decide whether to invest an extra £398,000 to modernise the CCTV network in Worcester city centre.

Members of Worcester City Council's policy and resources committee will make the decision when they meet on Tuesday December 11.

The city council currently operates 66 CCTV cameras, which feed footage through a fibre optic cable network into Castle Street Police Station. From there the information is transmitted to a control room operated by Wychavon District Council, where the images are monitored 24 hours a day.

Most of the council-owned cameras are nearly 10 years old, and are analogue. The fibre links connected to them are 15 to 20 years old – and the city council has already started work to upgrade them to carry digital images.

Cllr Marc Bayliss, leader of Worcester City Council, said: “We recognise the important role that CCTV plays in crime prevention; investment is needed now to ensure that the city has an effective, well-resourced and fully functional network underpinned by up-to-date technology.

“It is important to recognise that the council-owned network of cameras is just one of many sources of CCTV footage available to police. Several businesses, organisations and residents also operate cameras within the city centre.”

In addition to the £398,000 investment being considered by the council, a further £50,000 has been allocated by West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion to improve the city’s CCTV network.

The city council is in discussion with the University of Worcester over the university having future access to specific CCTV footage from its control room.

This would be for situations when university staff need to see footage regarding issues such as vandalism of its premises.

In October the Worcester News revealed that the CCTV camera overlooking Sabrina Bridge had not been working for around 12 months.

The bridge was one of the last known whereabouts of student Tom Jones, 18, who was found dead in the River Severn at the end of September.