December 8 2013 Latest news:
Dominic Bareham, senior reporter
Thursday, March 7, 2013
A new CCTV system for two Norfolk towns could be up-and-running by the summer if volunteers can be found to oversee the cameras.
The South Norfolk Community Safety Partnership is set to hold a public meeting at Diss Town Council’s offices on March 19 to elect the new South Norfolk Community CCTV Group, which will oversee the running of the 12 new cameras planned for Diss and Wymondham.
However, the “election” will not be done in a formal ballot format, but more on the basis of interested parties coming together to form the new group.
The process to decide which company will be responsible for setting up the equipment has been completed and the partnership has a preferred option, though the firm can not be named until the contracts have been finalised.
Mike Pursehouse, communities manager at South Norfolk Council, said the partnership had a budget of £66,000 to set up the infrastructure and some of the initial cameras.
The operating company will then assess sites within the towns and work out the likely cost of installing the six cameras for each town.
A number of sites are already being considered within Diss, including the Market Place, Mere’s Mouth, the Greyhound and Crown pubs in St Nicholas Street and Diss Park.
In Wymondham, cameras could be installed in the town centre, as well as near the Abbey and Central Hall and library.
Mr Pursehouse said the long-term hope was that businesses in the town would support the new cameras and help to fund the scheme to keep it running.
He added volunteers would possibly be needed to man the cameras at peak times, such as on Friday and Saturday nights, though footage from the cameras would be recorded 24 hours a day, seven days a week and fed back to Norfolk police headquarters at Wymondham where it could be monitored.
However, all operations-related decisions, including the training of the volunteers and the number of hours they would need to be on duty, will be the responsibility of the newly-formed CCTV group following the election.
A spokesman for South Norfolk Council, which is involved with the partnership, said in the event nobody stood for election the group would not go ahead, but that this was unlikely to happen because both Diss and Wymondham Town Councils, along with local businesses, were supporting the project.
The aim of the CCTV system is to reduce crime by deterring criminals, reduce the fear of crime to shop staff and members of the public in the town centre, create a secure trading environment, increase police detection rates by identifying offenders and give visitors and residents increased confidence about visiting the town centre, which would raise the numbers coming in.