Crime-busting CCTV is hailed a success

The success of security cameras monitoring crime on our streets was heralded across the county yesterday after figures showed a drop in offences where CCTV devices were situated.

The success of security cameras monitoring crime on our streets was heralded across the county yesterday after figures showed a drop in offences where CCTV devices were situated.

Incidents witnessed by CCTV operators in Norwich between May 2006 and April this year fell by 292 compared to the same period for the year before.

Cameras are now set to be rolled out into residential areas in the city to combat anti-social behaviour.

Meanwhile, Yarmouth's top police officer hailed the success of surveillance devices after 280 fewer crimes were recorded on the town's 55 cameras.


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Chief Supt Charlie Hall at Yarmouth said: "CCTV is a deterrent and a preventative measure to reduce crime and provide reassurance to the local people."

Even in King's Lynn, which bucked the trend by recording a rise in the number of incidents caught on camera, CCTV was labelled beneficial.

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North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said crime in the town, which is often sited as an example for the success of CCTV as it was the first place in the country to have it installed, had initially fallen sharply following its instillation in 1992, but had now reached a plateau.

He said the figures did not reflect the true worth of the cameras as a general increase in antisocial behaviour was behind the 82 more crimes caught on the town's 163 cameras.

That analysis seemed to be reflected at Yarmouth where about 30pc of the crimes recorded were public order offences, including assaults.

Leader of Norwich City Council Steve Morphew said he was pleased with the results, adding that CCTV was now being used to tackle situations before they got more serious as operators were able to warn police early.

And he said plans to introduce CCTV to residential areas with a mobile wi-fi system that could be temporarily installed at crime hot-spot areas, were exciting.

A spokesperson for City Hall said the figures did not show the full picture as they only included the number of incidents witnessed as they happened, and not the number of crimes solved after police requested recorded footage to look back at events.

Spokesperson Sara Martinez said: "It is impossible to give a full figure of how many incidents have been recorded on CCTV and how many of these have resulted in arrests, as a lot of the work that the police does with the footage is done after the fact, not while happening live, and the results of investigations, including arrests would not be reported back to us."

There were 135 reviews of recorded footage by police last year that may have led to further arrests she said.

A £500,000 digital system comprising 66 cameras installed at Norwich last year means footage requested by police can be easily stored on a separate hard drive. This has been done with 410 events so far this year.

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