Aldeburgh CCTV decision delayed
SUFFOLK police last nighturged a market town to install CCTV cameras to catch troublemakers behind anti-social behaviour.Officers told Aldeburgh town council that they would not cut manpower in Aldeburgh if cameras were put in and they hoped policing in the town would improve with the new security measures.
By Richard Smith
SUFFOLK police last nighturged a market town to install CCTV cameras to catch troublemakers behind anti-social behaviour.
Officers told Aldeburgh town council that they would not cut manpower in Aldeburgh if cameras were put in and they hoped policing in the town would improve with the new security measures.
Two cameras costing a total of £17,500 would be available if a bid to the Home Office for a 100% grant was successful - and one generous property owner has offered to pay for a third camera at his own expense.
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Annual running costs would be paid through the grant and the highly flexible cameras could be moved around to different locations and film at a distance of more than 400 yards in low lighting.
The district council is prepared to make a joint bid for funding for Aldeburgh, Saxmundham, Framlingham and Leiston.
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However, the town council decided not to make a decision at a special meeting last night.
A decision will instead be made next Monday at the town appearance committee and that will have to be ratified by the full council.
A previous decision rejected CCTV by one vote. The meeting was told that the Aldeburgh Business Association (ABA) did not support CCTV and some councillors said they thought it was too heavy handed to bring in cameras to catch people knocking over flowerpots.
But Inspector Graham Underwood said: “All crimes are serious and those people affected by criminal damage are pretty upset about it. There have also been serious assaults and vehicle incidents in the town.
“The summer is extremely busy in Aldeburgh but we have quite a high level of damage at this time of year, when I would not normally expect it.
“I believe CCTV would have a deterrent effect. It would make people feel safer and I would emphasis that the way we do policing would not change, hopefully it will get better.”
Cllr Kevin Webster warned: “Aldeburgh is no longer a sleepy coastal town. We have moved into the 21st century and I feel that if we do not have this then we will be left behind.”
Dudley Taylor, an Aldeburgh resident, said: “If Aldeburgh does not join in with other towns then the mindless vandals we get in the 21st century will regard us as an easy touch and visit us regularly.
“The Scallop should be respected, whether we like it or not, but that has had graffiti and so have the Moot Hall gents toilets and road signs. CCTV would deter these urban artists.”
But Hugo Herbert-Jones, deputy mayor, said he was extremely sceptical of the ability of cameras to detect crimes plaguing the town.
“Most of the misbehaviour is not by natives of the town and they disappear immediately,” he said.
And Cllr Mike Good said: “A straw poll in the town said no, the ABA said no and the town council has already said no. So I say it is game, set and match.''