Shopping centre's CCTV causes concern

CRIMINALS could escape justice because bosses at a multi-million pound shopping centre have installed their own security camera system rather than linking to an existing network, it was warned last night.

Will Clarke

CRIMINALS could escape justice because bosses at a multi-million pound shopping centre have installed their own security camera system rather than linking to an existing network, it was warned last night.

David Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds, and Suffolk police have criticised the arc development in the town for having its own CCTV separate to that of St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

Mr Ruffley argued that criminals running from the streets of the old town into the new streets of the arc, west of St Andrews Street, would “drop off the radar” under the current planned arrangements.


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And police CCTV experts said two separate networks would not “maximise opportunities” for the prevention and detection of crime.

Mr Ruffley said: “This looks like a lack of joined up thinking. We have an excellent CCTV control room in Bury and now that the town centre is being expanded it would seem logical that this network would extend as well.

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“It worries me that a criminal could be followed by CCTV in the town, only to drop off the radar as they enter the new development.

“While I am reassured that there will be links between the two networks and that images can be uploaded it would seem far more sensible, in the long run, to have one network covering the town - or at least live feeds shared between the two.”

He has written to Bury police boss Chief Inspector Mike Bacon and the chief executive of the borough council, Geoff Rivers, voicing his concerns that security in the town would be compromised by the two networks.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said: “We would always like to see CCTV systems linked together, to maximise opportunities for the prevention and detection of crime; however we can only have an input into planning decisions in an advisory capacity and the decision ultimately falls to the local authority.”

A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury said the arc was a private enterprise and it was therefore the developer's responsibility to cooperate with the police over security and not the council's.

She said: “We operate our CCTV in co-operation with the police and anticipate exactly the same with the new development.”

A spokesman for Centros - the firm behind the £100 million arc development - said: “Our network will work closely with the existing CCTV network and with the police.”

Built on the site of the former cattle market in Bury, the arc - which is expected to open in the spring - includes a Debenhams flagship store, a public venue, flats and parking as well as other major high street stores set along four open streets and a square.

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