Posted by: westlancashirerecord | July 13, 2016

What Next For Crime Prevention?

I suppose the fact of us paying 1.75% more to WLBC, 1.99% more to LCC, 0.99% more to the Fire Authority, and 1.99% more to the PCC this year is already forgotten as austerity hits us hard. 3.39% more and what do we have to show for it? If despite that we can’t afford 100% use of facilities that cost huge capital sums of council tax, the CCTV suite, where next for reducing crime?

On 5 July we read a news item about how effective our borough CCTV cctv_security_2 operations are in helping to keep crime low. On 12 July we read that a savings policy option is for “modest reductions in the number of CCTV cameras in the lowest priority areas and in live monitoring in off peak periods”.

WLBC states “CCTV is an important tool in providing evidence, but it plays a more important role of reducing crime and the fear of crime for local communities, and enhancing reassurance for residents, which is one of the Council’s top priorities”. Apparently it isn’t any more! Who is to decide the lowest priority areas?

A brand new report shows how effective West Lancashire Borough Council’s CCTV operations are in helping to keep crime low in the borough. Over the last five years the Council has invested heavily in the public open space system and expanded the scheme to install cameras in areas which previously had no coverage. The authority has just published its annual report on the CCTV it operates, and key achievements highlighted for 2015/16 include: In total CCTV staff assisted with 5110 incidents, nearly 100 a week; Operators helped police officers make 337 arrests in West Lancashire; Staff were involved in 525 missing/vulnerable person “incidents”; They were also involved in monitoring 656 cash deliveries/collections to ensure they were carried out without incident.; Operators also identified 1525 incidents themselves through their general monitoring. And our council will cut it?

Public Open Space CCTV cameras can act as a deterrent and can assist in the identification of people or vehicles involved in criminal activity. Many of the newer cameras are located near to roads on West Lancashire’s borders and are helping to tackle travelling criminals intent on committing crimes in West Lancashire. The Council currently operates 104 public open space cameras and these are monitored 24 hours a day 365 days each year. Nine of these have been installed over the past year to provide an even wider coverage with the aim of making West Lancashire an even safer place.

“CCTV can deter criminals and help the public feel safe, and 79% of respondents to the 2016 West Lancashire Citizen Survey agree that West Lancashire is a safe and secure place to live. West Lancashire is a safe place to live and work and we want to ensure this continues for years to come.” The full report is available on the CCTV annual report page. For more information on the Council’s CCTV system please visit CCTV.

West Lancashire Police Inspector June Chessell said “Lancashire Constabulary fully supports the use of CCTV and it can assist us in providing key evidence. I am extremely impressed with the WLBC scheme which continues to go from strength to strength. The operators also perform a key task in relation to preventing crimes and perform a vital link between the streets of West Lancashire and ourselves. My officers regularly visit the suite and look at the footage.”

Perhaps the 54 WLBC Councillors should think about reducing their own numbers by one third, stopping the idiotic 5 in Aughton including 3 councillors for Aughton & Downholland and 2 councillors for Aughton Park. The annual bill for councillors is now £331,806, we need to trim the fat!

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