CCTV plan for Diss takes step forward

The campaign to get new CCTV cameras installed in a Norfolk town could take a major step forward next week at a meeting to gauge interest in the scheme and the possibility of setting up a Community Interest Company (CIC) to run the network.

The South Norfolk Community Safety Partnership, which has been overseeing the project, has been distributing leaflets to businesses in Diss town centre asking traders if they would be prepared to contribute �10 a month towards providing CCTV in the town centre and if they would be interested in joining the CIC.

The leaflet states a CCTV system would 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 giving visitors and residents increased confidence about visiting the town centre, which would raise the numbers coming in.

The idea of installing CCTV was mooted at the end of last year when Insp Gavin Money, of Norfolk police, told a Diss Town Council meeting electronics distributor Midwich was looking into the cost of putting in the new cameras in Diss town centre to combat crime and the fear of crime.

In October, an appeal was made for community-minded volunteers to come forward to set up a group to run the surveillance equipment in Diss, which will start initially in the town centre before potentially being expanded to other areas, including industrial estates in Vinces Road and Sawmills Road, depending on the project's success.

If there is sufficient interest at next Thursday's meeting at Diss Corn Hall, the project could involve representatives of the town council, South Norfolk Council, traders and residents.

Cameras could initially be set up in Market Place and the Mere's Mouth to combat anti-social behaviour and then the network expanded to other potential crime hotspots such as the industrial estates if it proves a success.

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A report from Norfolk police suggests installing CCTV could reduce the number of crimes in the town centre from 351 to 261 per year, while saving �56,254 in police call-out costs.

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