Fears over 'Big Brother' are eased

By Dave GooderhamFEARS of an invasion of privacy from CCTV cameras in residential areas in Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill have been eased.Plans to install a host of mobile cameras around estates in both towns have been welcomed by councillors and residents alike.

By Dave Gooderham

FEARS of an invasion of privacy from CCTV cameras in residential areas in Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill have been eased.

Plans to install a host of mobile cameras around estates in both towns have been welcomed by councillors and residents alike.

Frank Warby, portfolio holder for housing, health and crime at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said he did not believe residents would be concerned about privacy issues.


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He said: "It is not a case of Big Brother watching over you – we want to make residents of Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill feel secure in the town. There were initial fears when cameras were installed in the town centres about eight years ago.

"But I think residents now see CCTV as a part of life and that they are not there to invade privacy. We are always hearing there are not enough police on the streets but this will give us a set of eyes to help watch the towns."

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Jerry Massey, the borough council's director of planning and transportation, said the scheme would be pro-active and could be located at a particular site for a number of days or even months.

He said: "The borough council recognised the CCTV system in the town centres was being extremely effective in the core of the two towns.

"We are now in the process of identifying other areas which suffer from a range of anti-social behaviour and merit extending the system."

Mr Massey said there is currently a £291,000 budget for CCTV cameras in the borough and the mobile cameras would be paid for out of that.

He refused to comment on what estates might be covered or exactly how much would be spent in each town.

But he added: "Most of the major traffic routes into the two town centres have been looked at in a lot of detail.

"The mobile cameras will be a very responsive service as we know there are areas which suffer from noise and vandalism at certain times of the year and we will be working very closely with the police to identify these problems."

The plans to add to the existing 47 CCTV cameras in the borough have been welcomed by residents groups in both towns.

Richard Mortlock, secretary of the Mildenhall Road Residents' Association in Bury St Edmunds, said: "The residents association committee believe the general idea for CCTV in residential areas, where problems are perceived, is very acceptable providing there is no intrusion into the homes of adjacent properties."

In Haverhill, the former secretary of the now-defunct New Clements Residents' Association said he believed the scheme would act as a deterrent in a number of estates in the town.

Pete Watkins said: "We don't have too much trouble on this estate and I am not a fan of the Big Brother theory of people watching you.

"But I do think the mobile cameras could act as a deterrent and I think residents would welcome a bit more surveillance in the area."

The borough council's cabinet committee will discuss the proposals in August.

dave.gooderham@eadt.co.uk

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