CCTV camera decision was ‘stupid and short-sighted’

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POLICE Insp Emma Garside has said she is “disappointed” that Buckingham Town Council has chosen not to retain a CCTV camera that led to a reduction in anti-social behaviour in the town’s Chandos Park.

And mayor of Buckingham Mike Smith called the decision “stupid and short-sighted”.

The ‘redeployable’ security camera was installed in the park on a six-week trial basis in July.

And Insp Garside told the Advertiser: “For the period that the CCTV was live in Chandos Park we definitely saw a reduction in reports of anti-social behaviour. This was a hugely positive outcome given the amount of time and resources I had put into policing the park in the weeks prior to its installation.”

But the town council’s Environment and Property Committee decided at its meeting on September 5 not to continue with the camera when the trial ended.

Green spaces manager Lee Phillips told the Advertiser the camera would have cost £6,000 to purchase, plus a yearly running cost of £733 and a £283 charge each time it was moved.

He said the committee had decided there was not the funding for it in this year’s budget.

Insp Garside said: “The camera was certainly a deterrent to crimes being committed and no reports of damage in the park were reported during the trial period.

“The police team had the facility to watch the CCTV footage ‘live time’ and this allowed us to target patrols when we knew people were congregating in the park.

“We seized a significant amount of alcohol from underage drinkers in this way.

“I am disappointed with the decision not to continue with the initiative. Having a mobile CCTV unit available to deploy in a crime or anti-social behaviour hotspot would have been a very effective tool to both deter and detect offences in the local area.

“I stand by my previous statement that responding to and tackling anti-social behaviour in the parks remains a priority for the local police team and we will continue to focus patrols in these areas.”

Councillor Smith, who did not attend the committee meeting, said the money could have been found from reserves.

He said: “I’m bitterly disappointed they took the decision to have the thing removed. I think the decision not to find the money to keep it was stupid and short-sighted.”