We’ll sell cakes to buy our own CCTV, say Warwick pensioners
PENSIONERS living in sheltered housing near the River Avon say they are prepared to hold cake sales if it means they can raise enough money to buy a surveillance camera to help them sleep at nights.
Police and the district councillors believe there are no real problems with Charter Bridge in St Nicholas Park, Warwick. Certainly none that the two close circuit cameras they intend to install in other parts of the park can’t handle.
They also believe a bit of anti-social behaviour during hot weather and school holidays does not merit any additional cameras.
But 73-year-old Janet Johnson and 70-year-old Sylvia Hutchinson say they are talking about more than general rowdyism. They feel intimidated by gangs who are drinking or kicking bins about and fear to go out at night because of threats if they complain.
“This is a lovely spot to live but most of us keep our curtains closed because we feel that nobody can see what’s going on and we are unprotected,” said Janet.
“And it’s not only us, there are hundreds of children who have to cross that bridge in the dark after school - a lot goes on that doesn’t get reported. If we can’t get some sort of camera we want to raise the money ourselves.”
Along with their neighbours Janet and Sylvia have submitted a 43-name petition to district councillor Linda Bromley (Con, Warwick South) who has passed it on to community services officers.
Last week one officer, Peter Cutts, met the residents to explain his view that the two top-of-the-range £7,000 apiece cameras already agreed should be sufficient. These will be part of a £210,000 general improvement grant for the park that he said will go a long way to solving their problems. He added that the constant monitoring and zoom directional capacity of the CCTV would be better than a cheaper 30-day loop system the residents and members of Neighbourhood Watch were requesting.
But Janet said: “It seems to me these new cameras, whenever they arrive, will be protecting cars parked in the car park rather than us and the schoolchildren crossing our bridge twice a day. I suppose they will pick up the joyriding we sometimes see but it won’t be the same as having our own camera. That’s why if they don’t respond to our petition we’re going to start doing our own fundraising.”
The petition reads: “We the undersigned experience incidents of anti-social behaviour in the park area immediately adjacent to our homes which cause us considerable disturbance and distress. In the interests of our peace of mind, safety and protection, we therefore call on Warwick District Council to install a CCTV camera close to our area or to upgrade the one on the Pickard Street Community Centre.”
Cllr Dave Shilton, who is responsible for closed circuit television cameras, said: “We are not prepared to put a camera on every lamppost but we do listen and if it is proven that there is a need for more cameras then we will consider it.”
Warwick police sergeant Dave Kettle added: “The provision of CCTV cameras is ultimately a matter for the district council to decide on. CCTV can assist with tackling some problems in specific areas, although does not in itself provide a solution and is only one of a number or tactics which could be deployed.”
“It is not simply the quantity of cameras but the what can be done with them which is important. The district council system is excellent, and provides real time images which can be directed by an operator, frozen, rewound and played back immediately. I would be sceptical about the effectiveness of unmanned cameras in the park and such a system needs to be carefully considered to ensure that it is both fit for purpose and value for money.
“Safer Neighbourhood Officers are more than willing to meet with residents to discuss their concerns.”
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Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 18 C
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