Calls to fund CCTV in town centre
CALLS are being made for funds to provide a modern CCTV system in the town centre.
Currently police have to rely on the cameras of private venues and the radio system to track incidents and those responsible for them.
Plans are in place to upgrade the network, but to make them viable long-term funding is required which, it is claimed, is the responsibility of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Local businesses and councillors have called on Angus Macpherson to put up the money needed.
It is estimated the annual running cost of the CCTV will be £70,000.
The PCC has said he is in favour of CCTV but accepts there is a budget issue.
Paul Mellor, the head of the town centre Pubwatch, said it was important a town the size of Swindon had an up-to-date system.
He said: “It’s hard to believe that somewhere like Swindon does not have its own fully working CCTV system.
“I have worked in other towns much smaller than Swindon and they have a working system which is fully monitored.
“Whoever is responsible for providing the funding should put the money forward because it is very important.”
A plan involving the council and local businesses has been put together. It now needs the commitment of long-term funding.
Two cameras in the town centre are out of action as the new system, which would provide linked cameras throughout the town centre, is ready to be implemented.
Shops, pubs and restaurants are still able to talk to each other using radio and have their own internal CCTV systems but they are not linked.
Paul said: “The fully working CCTV means police can see an incident as it is developing before it develops into something more serious.
“Currently police are having to contact us to go through hours of footage after an incident has taken place.
“It also acts as a very strong deterrent to thieves and others who are considering committing an act of crime.”
The new CCTV system is supported by Coun Bob Wright (Lab, Central), who is calling for the PCC to commit the funds.
He said: “We need a system which can clearly identify people and is fully monitored so the police can react in real time.
“As it stands, with the radio system we can give audio updates but we need the CCTV for visual updates.
“A town like Swindon should have a fully working system all the time as it is by no means the night-time economy which is the source of the problems.
“The town centre has seen crime fall in the evenings so it is needed throughout the day.
“The funding for CCTV falls within the budget of the PCC, so it is for him to commit to providing the money so it can run for the long term.”
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson, said: “I am in favour of CCTV cameras in Swindon town centre.
“There is a financial issue, but I’m confident that this will be resolved.
“In the longer term I would favour CCTV images from town centre cameras being fed through to the Wiltshire Police control room and will be looking at this as part of an overall strategy for the county.”
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