Lowestoft police - new cameras increase crime detection rates

ADDITIONAL improvements to CCTV coverage across Lowestoft could soon be made – as police chiefs in September hailed an increase in detection rates.

Since the new digital equipment was unveiled in May, the CCTV coverage across town has helped police catch offenders and detect a number of crimes over the past few months.

And in August the cameras maintained a success rate of more than 50pc for positive reviews –continuing the improvements that had been seen in the previous four months.

In March, before the introduction of the new system, 37 reviews of CCTV material were carried out to see if the incidents police were interested in had been captured.

In 26 of these, there was a negative result with no evidence found, while 11 were positive – meaning that the CCTV cameras caught evidence that could be used in court, leading to a success rate of 30pc.

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In May, when the new system was up and running, 40 reviews were carried out with 22 positive results – a 55pc success rate.

But now, the latest figures from Waveney Norse, who operate the system on behalf of Waveney District Council, show this level is being maintained – with a 54pc success rate – while the number of reviews is also up.

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In August officers reviewed footage on 62 occasions with a positive result in 34 of these.

Among the incidents CCTV operators assisted with were public order offences, possession of offensive weapons, theft from shops, burglaries, criminal damage, driving offences and one case of child neglect.

CCTV cameras also provided useful information to officers dealing with an attempted suicide, looking for a missing person and hunting people who were wanted.

Temporary Inspector Penny Jones, who oversees Lowestoft's Safer Neighbourhood Teams, said the new digital system was a real improvement.

'The clarity of the images is helping us in a variety of situations, allowing officers to gather clear evidence of offences and to use footage to prove, or disprove, accounts given by victims, witnesses and offenders.

'CCTV operators are also useful in spotting potential incidents and providing valuable information to officers who are dealing with crimes, and this work is also enhancing partnership links between the police and Waveney.'

Andy Wilson-Sutter, general manager of Waveney Norse, said: 'I am very pleased with the improved performance of the CCTV service and encouraged that we have been able to continue the good results, especially when the number of reviews has increased.

'We will continue to work closely with our partners to further improve the service,' he added. 'Further upgrades and enhancements are planned over the next few months and these include additional screens in the operating room to widen the operators view of cameras.

'We are also working with the police and other partners to provide additional cameras in areas in Lowestoft and Oulton Broad as well as working with the Lowestoft Town Centre Partnership to further enhance communications between their members and CCTV in order to provide a faster response to any incidents that may occur in that area.'

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