Panel puts forward idea for countywide CCTV network in Suffolk

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A network of CCTV cameras across Suffolk could help tackle increasing demand on police and counter a downturn in bobbies on the beat.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, said a countywide CCTV network would help identify criminals and act as a deterrent to reduce offences.

The idea was put forward during a discussion on police visibility and crime rates at a recent police and crime panel meeting.

Mr Passmore said: 'Why don't we look carefully at a countywide network of CCTV? It does reduce crime, catch offenders and you can bet your bottom dollar I am absolutely behind that.

'If we are going to have this system, let's have it supported properly for the next 10 years.'

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It comes after concerns were raised about the volume of minor crime and lack of police patrolling Suffolk's streets, particularly in rural communities. But Mr Passmore said he hoped the idea of a countywide CCTV system would go some way to allaying public concerns.

While it is only an idea being tabled for now, the panel heard there could be some funding available from the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders (SPSL). The SPSL comprises leaders and chief executives of every council in Suffolk alongside Mr Passmore and Chief Constable Gareth Wilson, and takes a portion of business rates for schemes which benefit the entire county.

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Figures for the next financial year are not yet clear, but early estimates suggest there could be as much as £10m the scheme could bid for a share of.

Mr Passmore said a full business case would be needed to apply for funding, and campaigning for central government cash was also possible.

He added: 'We can all help by lobbying MPs.'

A report by Danny Steel, of Lowestoft Vision, said its funded PCSO coupled with radio connection between more than 50 shops and a CCTV network across the town formed a security system and had worked well. Figures showed since the network had been in place shoplifting had reduced by 23.8pc in the two years to April last year. Anti-social behaviour for the same period was down 34.5pc.

It is understood leaders will begin to build a case, although it is not clear when such a scheme could be rolled out.

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