Relief at CCTV for city road after decade of muggings and drug deals

Bob, with his dog Paul near to the scene of the attempted robbery in Douro Place, Norwich. PIC: Pete

Bob, with his dog Paul near to the scene of the attempted robbery in Douro Place, Norwich. PIC: Peter Walsh - Credit: Archant

A council flat resident has spoken of his relief at CCTV and security doors being installed after a decade of issues, including muggings, drug dealing and defecation.  

New security measures are being installed in Paragon Place, near the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, in a move by the city council and police to crack down on crime in the area.

Security doors with electronic locks were installed late last year on the estate, with CCTV due to go up in the coming weeks.

Bob, a resident of one of the flats who asked that his full name was not used, revealed his ordeals in the area and relief at the new security measures. 

A CCTV camera.

A CCTV camera. - Credit: Archant

“It’s fantastic, fair play to them,” he said. “We are chuffed about it. 

“It’s been a long process but once we knew things were happening it was such a relief. 

“In the past, I have had to kick people out of the building for pinning up and dealing in the hallway, people defecating in the hall. I have been fighting for 10 years to get this done. 

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“It’s scary, I’ve been a doorman and this place has scared the hell out of me.

"I shouldn’t have to be frightened and worried on my own doorstep.” 

Bob said he had once stopped a mugging in the area while out walking his dog, fighting off two men trying to steal someone's bag, while another time a man threatened to stab him with a needle. 

While it has taken a long time for something to be done, Bob said “you have to take the rough with the smooth” and he was just pleased it was being sorted. 

Formerly homeless himself, Bob called for better mental health support to stop people turning to drugs. 

Paragon Place in Norwich. PIC: Steve Adams.

Paragon Place in Norwich. PIC: Steve Adams.

“I was one of the lucky ones, in 2008 I was homeless and now I’m here. I asked for help at the right time.  

“You can see why people turn to drink and drugs: they want to escape from reality. 

“We need help to stop people from turning to drugs and falling into homelessness.  

“There are people off the streets at the moment because of Covid, and at the end of it, they will back out there. 

“Other people will lose their homes after the eviction ban ends - it’s a massive ticking time bomb. 

“It took me 13 years to get here, imagine what could happen for others if they have the right help and funding behind them.” 

Bob praised Danny Douglas, the county councillor for the ward for lobbying the city council and police to get the CCTV installed. 

“I know Danny has campaigned for that, and to get it and electric locks on the doors is fantastic.” 

Mr Douglas said it was “really good news” CCTV is due to be installed after he had reported issues on the estate over the years, including some he suspected of being county lines.  

Danny Douglas, Labour member for Mancroft. Pic: Labour Party.

Danny Douglas, Labour member for Mancroft. Pic: Labour Party. - Credit: Labour Party

“It’s great, there are good things happening, it’s good for the community and it’s good for the city - it’s responding to the community concerns.” 

Mr Douglas said the next thing he would like to see is more visible policing in the community, to replace PCSOs that have been cut. 

Other areas of Norwich have suffered similar long-term issues, including Ebenezer Place where residents are also calling for security doors on their properties.

Green Party councillor Jamie Osborn said he and his colleagues on the city council had been pushing for CCTV at Paragon Plance and throughout the city, which he said was "desperately needed".

He said: "It's great news that the city council has finally installed the CCTV. 

"However, this should have happened months ago and it shouldn't have taken months of lobbying from local councillors to get them to do it."

A spokeswoman for Norfolk police said they have been working on the council about the issues surrounding Paragon Place and regularly review the need for CCTV. 

Resident Gillian Dickinson at Ebenezer Place where she and other residents are fed up with drug deal

Residents in other areas of Norwich are continuing to suffer from similar issues, including Ebenezer Place in the north of the city - Credit: Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Copyright: Archant 2021

She said: “The CCTV is a mobile one that can be mounted at different locations depending on crime and calls from members of the public.  

“We regularly review the data to identify those vulnerable areas with need. 

“Recently we have agreed with the council to install CCTV in Paragon Place. This should be going up in the next few weeks.  

“We are aware of issues relating to drug dealing and ASB in this area.” 

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