A new system is to be launched which allows people in Daventry town centre to feed instant information to a CCTV camera control room.
Daventry Town Council, Northamptonshire Police and Crimesecure who monitor the cameras, have worked together on the new project.
Signs will go up around the town centre with a number on which people can text information to if they see anything suspicious, fights, or any other potential crime.
The texts get sent direct to the CCTV operators at Crimesecure who can then rotate cameras to try and see what is happening and record any evidence.
Deborah Jewel, clerk to the town council, said: “Before, we had the town centre wardens who were the eyes and ears on the street. They could contact the CCTV control room and get them to point the cameras at any problems.
“Now they are gone we wanted to ensure the CCTV system remains proactive.
“The operators can sit and watch screens, pan the cameras, but if they don’t know something is happening in a certain location, they could miss everything.”
Crimesecure operate the cameras from a Daventry control room on behalf of the town council.
On Monday night the council also agreed to continue with The Retail Radio scheme. Shops and other town centre businesses can join the scheme for £180 a year.
They receive radio handsets which link them to other town centre businesses and the CCTV operators, allowing information about trouble customers or banned people to be quickly disseminated, and for suspected shoplifters and more to be followed.
Cllr Peter Luke questioned if staff costs had been included in the bills. He said: “I don’t want money from the taxpayers of Daventry going to subsidise a service that is for the benefit of businesses.”
The council was told staff costs had been estimated at less than £40 and workload would be minimal – just two hours.
Chairman Mark Wesley added: “I see this as something that will also benefit residents and shoppers, say for instance you had a handbag stolen or were assaulted.”