Diss CCTV plan is ‘Big Society not Big Brother’

New CCTV plans for a south Norfolk market town are 'Big Society, not Big Brother', say officials behind a community-run scheme.

Norfolk Police, South Norfolk Council, and Diss Town Council are exploring proposals to install cameras in the town centre to help reduce crime. However, they have called on local businesses to come forward to help fund and run the system.

Officials behind the project say that the installation of three CCTV cameras in Mere Street, the Market Place, and Diss Park could save the police more than �50,000 a year, if it results in a 25pc decrease in crime. They added that the potential savings to Diss could be more than �650,000 a year.

Mike Pursehouse, deputy locality and communities manager for South Norfolk Council, said they needed about a dozen volunteers to help run the Big Society-inspired scheme during peak times on Friday nights and market day. He added that the initial start-up costs of the cameras and control room were almost �40,000.

'There are a number of businesses who have said they are interested in CCTV and the town council have explored it for a number of years. We are looking at three or four cameras with the community CCTV operation and it will not be the police and South Norfolk Council watching people. It is not Big Brother, it is a community system,' he said.


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Organisers are looking at replicating a similar system that has been running in Gorleston for the last few years. Diss Town Council has allocated �1,500 a year to support the scheme and there will also be some capital funding from the police and district council. Phase two of the project will aim to install cameras in the industrial areas of Vince's Road and Sawmills Road.

The plans come as police and town leaders condemned the actions of 'mindless vandals' following a spate of abusive graffiti in the town. Graffiti was sprayed on the Citizens Advice Bureau building in Shelfanger Road and in Chapel Street over the last week.

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Diss Town Council clerk, Deborah Sarson, added: 'It is so disappointing that once again, the behaviour of the minority is spoiling our town for the majority. This sort of mindless vandalism is detrimental to our town and creates significant unnecessary work for those who try so hard to keep our town looking smart and welcoming.'

Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to contact the Diss Safer Neighbourhood Team on 0845 456 4567.

Any businesses wishing to get involved in the CCTV scheme can contact Mike Pursehouse on 01508 533718 or email mpursehouse@s-norfolk.gov.uk

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