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Police chief ‘unhappy’ with level of CCTV coverage in Norwich

A CCTV operator at the Kings Lynn based control room. Picture: Neil Didsbury

A CCTV operator at the Kings Lynn based control room. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Archant

The county’s chief constable says he is “unhappy” with the level of CCTV coverage in Norwich - a view echoed by some residents in the city.

At present, Norwich City Council provides 48 cameras covering the city centre and clubbing district, as well as some parks and council-owned shopping parades.

But people living in the city say they would like to see more - particularly installed in the suburbs to cut down on anti-social behaviour.

It comes as Norfolk’s police chief constable Simon Bailey revealed he was “really unhappy” with the level of CCTV coverage in Norwich.

His comments were made at a public meeting earlier this month in response to a question from the city’s mayor, asking if police would contribute more to the camera network.

Mr Bailey said: “There is an ongoing conversation and we are looking at the whole of the county’s management of CCTV.

“We will look at how the constabulary can act as a co-ordinator and potentially contribute more to creating a CCTV infrastructure that is both fully-funded, is efficient and effective.”

He praised the system in West Norfolk, where a single control room in King’s Lynn monitors about 700 cameras on behalf of nearby councils and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Mr Bailey said: “With modern-day technology, I personally believe one control room could cover the whole of the county.”

The CCTV control room which keeps an eye on West Norfolk. Picture: Neil DidsburyThe CCTV control room which keeps an eye on West Norfolk. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Norwich City Council said officers had been working with police to identify what is needed in terms of coverage in Norwich.

A spokesman said the council will be making a “significant investment” to provide brand new, state-of-the-art cameras that will be in place later this year.

Earlier this month the local authority awarded a three-year £410,800 CCTV contract to Truetech Integrated.

The contract is for a systems upgrade and control room relocation.

Simon Crawford, who is a committee member of the Russell Street Community Area Residents’ Association, said he would like to see more CCTV outside of the city centre.

He said: “I fully support the idea. I really think it would cut down on crime and make people think about what they do outside their homes and in the street.”

What the public thinks

Sarah Barnes, 54, from Horsford, said: “I can’t say I’ve noticed any so, probably yes.

Norfolk Chief Constable Simon Bailey. Photo : Steve AdamsNorfolk Chief Constable Simon Bailey. Photo : Steve Adams

“Definitely it’s important, especially near where I work.

“I think you do feel safer with cameras up if it is good quality CCTV but often the pictures are grainy so it could be better.”

Peter March, 80, from Norwich, added: “Yes, we should have more CCTV because people not doing anything wrong have nothing to fear.

“It’s important because cameras can dissuade people from committing crime. Of course, you must feel safer with CCTV because you can’t feel safer without it.”

Pier Thomas, 60, who works at Imelda’s Shoe Boutique on Guildhall Hill in Norwich, said: “It’s a weird one, I find CCTV can be intrusive even if you are not doing anything.

“If it was more discrete and didn’t feel like it was spying on you then perhaps there could be more. “It is important but whether it makes me feel safer or not is a double edged sword. I had a friend who had their bike stolen but the camera in the area wasn’t working, so what is the point? If people get to know which cameras work and which ones don’t then we’re all in trouble.”

Roy, 68, and Val Spinks, 70, from Buxton, added: “The more CCTV the better, we’ve got nothing to hide.

“It cuts down on crime but the only problem is it can drive crime elsewhere. Without footage, criminals don’t get caught. It helps the police, it’s like am extra pair of eyes. It makes you feel safer knowing that someone is always looking.”

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