Plea for CCTV in Haverhill

A GROUP of councillors has written to Home Secretary David Blunkett pleading for closed circuit television in Haverhill.Independent Haverhill councillors, Chris Cullum, Mabon Dane and Annette Daniel-Ward, have written to the Home Office after becoming disillusioned with what they perceive to be a rise in crime in the town.

A GROUP of councillors has written to Home Secretary David Blunkett pleading for closed circuit television in Haverhill.

Independent Haverhill councillors, Chris Cullum, Mabon Dane and Annette Daniel-Ward, have written to the Home Office after becoming disillusioned with what they perceive to be a rise in crime in the town.

In a letter to Mr Blunkett, they say extra funding for CCTV cameras is vital after a 25-year-old was raped in the grounds of St Mary's churchyard – the fourth sex attack in a little over a year.

Their joint letter said: "There is a great fear in our town and as the nights draw in, the fear increases amongst the people of Haverhill that further attacks may happen by individuals who remain at large.


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"Whilst crime is falling in our town and also nationally, we note the trend for rapes and unprovoked attacks are on the increase.

"We are aware the police cannot be everywhere and that much of the fear for people is the perception of crime.

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"We believe CCTV is the best way to both prevent and detect crime whilst reducing the fear and perception of crime in Haverhill."

Between April and July of this year, a Suffolk police spokesman said there was an 18 per cent reduction in recordable crimes compared to the same period from last year.

This continues on from the 2002/03 figures when crime fell by eight per cent with 2,395 crimes recorded compared to 2,609 from the previous 12 months – a drop of 214 recordable crimes in Haverhill.

Insp Mark Jepson of Suffolk Constabulary said: "The figures suggest we are doing well in the town but I am not complacent. We are working very hard to make Haverhill safer and the current figures suggest we are achieving that goal.

"I would welcome any initiative assisting in the reduction or detection of crime in Haverhill but we must keep the more serious incidents in context as they still are very rare.

"Initially, there was a fear of Big Brother with CCTV cameras and the issue is now how far we get into the residential areas."

But Ms Daniel-Ward, who is also Haverhill mayor, said: "There should be CCTV cameras in all public places including St Mary's churchyard.

"In 1999, I was a victim of a flasher along Railway Walk and I know people would think twice about committing an offence with CCTV around."

Mr Cullum added: "I hope the letter to the Government will be a wake up call to those holding the purse strings about the desperate need for the expansion of CCTV in Haverhill to help people feel safer."

Meanwhile, police are still hunting a churchyard rapist who attacked a 25-year-old woman, on Sunday, August 10.

A police spokesman said: "We are renewing our appeal for witnesses as we are confident someone would have seen something and that there are more people out there who have information."

Anyone with any information should contact Suffolk police on 01284 774489 or Crimestoppers on freephone 0800 555111.

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