CCTV finally launched in Stowmarket
LONG-awaited CCTV spy cameras were launched in Stowmarket today.Traders welcomed the move to install £370,000 worth of CCTV cameras in town centre.Eleven cameras are to be installed for the main streets and car parks in the town centre including Market Place, the Meadow Centre and the railway station car park.
By Amanda Cresswell
LONG-awaited CCTV spy cameras were launched in Stowmarket today.
Traders welcomed the move to install £370,000 worth of CCTV cameras in town centre.
Eleven cameras are to be installed for the main streets and car parks in the town centre including Market Place, the Meadow Centre and the railway station car park.
The move comes in the wake of a series of raids in Stowmarket, with thieves on one occasion using a digger to rip a cash machine from a bank wall.
Toby Hicks, proprietor of Hicks Electrical on Ipswich Street, hoped the new system would help to make the town safer.
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"I think it was a long wait because there has been talk about installing CCTV for years," he said.
"Crime has escalated in the town over the last five years. On Saturday morning you can see broken glass, litter and everything else around here after people have been coming out of the pubs and nightclubs drunk.
"If the cameras stop the vandalism, it would be a good thing. But I am sceptical. Will the cameras be monitored all the time and what will the quality be like at night time?"
Work on the scheme started in back in 1999 with several agencies meeting to discuss the project.
Mid Suffolk District Council and Suffolk Police worked together on a detailed plan and successfully put in a bid for Home Office funding, which was granted in April 2001.
The cameras will fall under the ownership of Mid Suffolk District Council but Stowmarket Town council will be involved in the day to day operational management of the scheme.
Penny Otton, Mid Suffolk District Council Leader, who fronted the launch with the Mayor of Stowmarket Keith Scarff, said: "We are absolutely delighted the scheme is now going ahead.
"It has been a lot of hard work but we are looking forward to the cameras being instrumental in the detection and prevention of crime in Stowmarket and reducing the perception of crime, making people feel safer when they are in the town.
"It was a long process because it had to go through bidding to the Home Office and we had to make sure everything was in place correctly for the bid to be successful."
The Stowmarket cameras will be manned by Ipswich Borough Council 24 hours a day with direct monitoring facilities also available at Stowmarket police station.
Nigel Smithson, executive director of Mid-Suffolk District Council, said: "Obviously we are now pleased we have reached the stage the scheme is going live and operational.
"It took time because were a lot of issues that we hadn't anticipated would be quite so complex in terms of the physical, technical aspects and in terms of management and the administration side of the scheme."