I welcome South Holland District Council’s proposal to improve the CCTV service in this area.
The effectiveness of CCTV is a divisive issue, with some reports claiming that it does not deter crime, while others worry about the infringements on people going about their lawful business.
While it is true that CCTV on its own does not prevent crime, it can displace it from hot-spot areas and is a useful investigative tool.
I have been a police officer for over 20 years and I have seen many occasions when CCTV has been instrumental in bringing offenders to justice. Here are some recent local examples:
In May 2013 police received a report of a robbery that had just occurred in Winsover Road, Spalding. The CCTV system was not monitored at the time and there were initially no suspects.
The following day, CCTV volunteers reviewed the footage and back-tracked two suspects to an address where they were identified. A man and a woman were consequently arrested and charged with robbery.
They later appeared at Lincoln Crown Court where they both received a term of imprisonment. This offence would not have been detected without the use of CCTV.
In September two men were seen fighting in West Street, Long Sutton. Police attended and two men were arrested.
The CCTV footage helped to build a picture for the prosecution and confirmed the suspects’ involvement.
In October 2013, a CCTV volunteer was monitoring the cameras when he became aware of suspicious activity surrounding a vehicle in The Sheepmarket, Spalding.
The activity was consistent with drug dealing. Although there was no police unit available to attend, the volunteer recorded the details. Two days later, the volunteer noticed the same vehicle again in The Sheepmarket. They alerted police officers and the vehicle was stopped and searched.
Suspected controlled drugs were recovered from the vehicle, as well as an extendable baton. Two men were arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply. They are currently on bail pending further enquiries.
This offence would not have come to light without the keen eye of one of our CCTV volunteers.
In October 2013 police received a report of a fight in Hall Place, Spalding. When officers arrived the fight had finished and no witnesses would come forward. A research of CCTV provided evidence of what had happened and two men were arrested for an affray. But for the CCTV, this would have remained undetected.
In November 2013 police received a report of a violent shoplifter outside Boots in Hall Place, Spalding. While officers were deployed to the scene, a CCTV volunteer monitored the situation and provided live commentary. A man was arrested and charged with theft.
CCTV is only truly effective if monitored routinely. We have some brilliant local CCTV volunteers in Spalding, whose effectiveness is demonstrated by the above examples.
However, I strongly believe that proper professional observation using improved technology will enhance and improve public safety in South Holland.
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