Crime-buster scheme for Felixstowe Port

TALKS are taking place with port chiefs at Felixstowe to see if a crime-busting CCTV scheme could be linked to the container terminal's successful system.

By Richard Cornwell

TALKS are taking place with port chiefs at Felixstowe to see if a crime-busting CCTV scheme could be linked to the container terminal's successful system.

The port is currently updating its closed-circuit television cameras and councillors are hoping to move quickly to see if they could link a town scheme with them – and to see if the port would monitor it.

Good progress is being made on a community CCTV scheme for the resort to tackle crime hotspots and improve safety on the streets.

More than 1,000 people have been campaigning in the town for surveillance following problems of vandalism and rowdy behaviour on the seafront and in the town centre in the early hours.

But finding the cash to pay for the project has been a major problem. Suffolk Coastal has refused to pay for it though it did submit a bid to the Home Office for funding for a scheme.

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But the £367,000 for 20 cameras – eight in Hamilton Road, ten on the seafront and two at the Dock Spur roundabout – and a link to police HQ for monitoring the network was refused. Annual running costs would have been £75,000.

Now it is hoped to find a cheaper way forward, and if the port is prepared to monitor the cameras this would cut costs considerably.

Chris Slemmings, chairman of the town council's working party, said: "We are making good progress and a number of action points are being pursued.

"At the moment we are looking at a variety of options and trying to gather a breadth of information so that we can make decisions later."

The working party had a fact-finding meeting with camera experts ADT to look at possible schemes and Graeme Robinson from the company is to provide costs for 20 cameras which would be monitored from 8pm to 3am daily.

This will give the group an idea of what a standard scheme could achieve and it will then look to tailor a system which would be best for Felixstowe.

Town clerk Susan Robinson is to discuss with the port whether its operations room could monitor the town's cameras, while Pc Steve Warne is to compile details of crime problems and times of day they occur.

Chamber of trade vice chairman Harvey Smith is to ask businesses about CCTV systems they have at their premises to see if they could be linked to a town-wide system and also if they would contribute financially.

Although transmissions from the cameras may not be watched all the time, each will record what it sees and tapes will be made available to police every day.

The group accepts CCTV will not rid an area of crime on its own and is not a substitute for effective community policing but a valuable addition to public safety and would help the work of the police.

n Does Felixstowe need CCTV? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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