On a personal note, I’m glad to see a camera back in place and it’s very kind of Rogers & Hambidge to allow their premises to be use to mount the camera and store the recording equipment, which is available to the police if required.
At the end of last summer, I visited local traders in Station Road and asked if they would be prepared to contribute to the cost of a new camera in a bid to deal with anti-social behaviour problems outside the stations and opposite the off-licenses. The response was favourable, subject to cost and a great deal of credit goes to PC Chris Bungard for sourcing the right camera for the job at a very attractive price.
It is unfortunate that the community has to dip into its collective pocket these days to find the funds to make our streets safer. Two of the local traders nearby, already have CCTV in place and one more, wider range camera ,is a help when it comes to collecting evidence and perhaps acting as a deterrent to the anti-social behaviour that our towns and villages suffer from on a regular basis.
Here in Britain, we have more CCTV cameras than anywhere else on the planet but “Forests of CCTV cameras in the UK's town centres have failed to have any impact on anti-social behaviour”, an ACPO official told the House of Lords Constitution Committee last week.
Graeme Gerrard, head of CCTV at the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), said cameras did a good job deterring crimes like theft, for example in car parks. Such criminals are presumably acting "rationally", he said, and will take cameras and other surveillance equipment into account.
"Before CCTV can effectively deter people, they need to know the cameras are there. They have got to be thinking about the consequences of their behaviour," he said.
And here lies the problem. We have less and less money for policing, with even the Police themselves threatening strike action over pay and without a doubt the great majority of those committing anti-social behaviour offenses, don’t give a jot about the consequences of their behaviour!
Gerrard insisted that the proliferation of CCTV cameras in public spaces was being driven by local communities, or rather local authorities and other public agencies.
The public was often left disappointed by CCTV's lack if impact on drunkenness and violence, he said. "... it doesn't deter most crime. I think they are perhaps misled in terms of the amount of crime that CCTV might prevent."
Gerrard’s evidence might have seemed slightly at odds with ACPO's own written submission to the committee, which said: "The availability of CCTV images greatly assists in the investigation of crime and disorder."
Well done however to all those involved in making this effort to address a problem in Westgate which is born of a greater problem in modern society. With luck the groups of youths that hang-around the station in the evening will disperse but to where I wonder?