Local residents are puzzling over the installation of – at least – two new solar-powered surveillance cameras in Penarth.
One camera has been installed on Windsor Road near the bus stop outside Penarth Leisure Centre. which gives it a view towards the Brains railway bridge.
The cameras have pan and tilt capability and are also equipped with infra-red lights enabling them to operate in total darkness.
Meanwhile an identical camera has been installed this week on Penarth Esplanade near Penarth Lifeboat station – mounted like the other one on a galvanised steel pole with solar panels on top.
The appearance of these cameras has mystified the “Safer Vale Partnership” – the South Wales Police and Vale of Glamorgan Council organisation which is responsible for all CCTV cameras across the county.
The Safer Vale Partnership had heard of the new camera at the Leisure Centre but was not aware of the second camera installed at the lifeboat station until this morning .
The Safer Vale Partnership says neither of the new cameras has anything to do with its CCTV network and that it has not installed any new cameras anywhere lately. In any case, when the Safer Vale Partnership installs CCTV cameras, each installation is usually well publicised – but there has been no publicity whatsoever about Penarth’s new secret surveillance cameras
The new cameras are made by RAYTEC an American company which makes surveillance infra-red cameras that can read numberplates and see people at a considerable distance in the pitch dark without street lighting.
The on-line magazine Professional Security says Infra-Red cameras “can see through some materials”. Quite what implications this has for the modesty of Penarth residents is unclear.
There is no record of any planning application having been made for the new cameras and neither installation has been discussed at any Penarth Council meeting – even though each installation requires a steel pole to be installed with a camera mount and solar panels at the top .
UPDATE: This afternoon the Vale of Glamorgan Council admitted that the newly-installed cameras were theirs and had been installed to monitor flooding and “overtopping” at Cogan and the Esplanade.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council Highways Department said in a public statement on Twitter this afternoon – the first yet made about the new cameras – that there was “No conspiracy, just keeping everyone safe”.