Resort vandals prompt fresh CCTV call
VANDALISM and rowdy behaviour in Felixstowe has reached an "unacceptable level" prompting fresh calls for CCTV cover.But councillors believe it is not just needed on the seafront – where residents and businesses were plagued with problems this summer – but in all parts of the town to make the streets safer.
By Richard Cornwell
By RICHARD CORNWELL
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VANDALISM and rowdy behaviour in Felixstowe has reached an "unacceptable level" prompting fresh calls for CCTV cover.
But councillors believe it is not just needed on the seafront – where residents and businesses were plagued with problems this summer – but in all parts of the town to make streets safer.
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While some traders are scared to talk publicly about the problems for fear of reprisals, others have bravely started a petition calling for closed-circuit television cameras to be installed.
They have been backed by the town's police commander Insp Andy Bushell, the crime prevention panel, and now town councillors want action too.
Councillors are to press Suffolk Coastal to make a fresh bid for government funding, and also to see if CCTV cameras owned by pubs and clubs can be used to monitor the streets outside premises.
Deputy mayor Doreen Savage, said vandalism and disturbances in the town had reached an "unacceptable level" and the use of cameras needed to be looked at as soon as possible.
Councillor Cherrie MacGregor said: "We definitely need CCTV – there is no question. The situation has become quite shocking."
Former mayor Harry Dangerfield said: "I know there have been problems on the seafront and in the town centre, but vandalism is not confined to those areas, there have been incidents from all parts of town."
Councillor Andy Smith pointed out that the town would probably have had CCTV a decade ago if the police had not been so insistent that it could only be run and monitored from Martlesham.
"We had an offer from the port a third of the price, and it is ironic the police now want CCTV – we need to check this point with them," he said.
Sally Scott, a crime reduction officer, said: "We know the town was unsuccessful in its bid for CCTV last year, but hope that there is enough support from local residents, retailers and the town and district councils for there to be another bid this year."
Police have launched the NightSafe campaign to focus on cutting drink and drug-related crime on the seafront, and have stressed that CCTV would be another tool to fight crime and not the sole solution.
Last year a bid for government cash towards a £367,000 scheme for 18 cameras in the town and two on the A14 failed because Whitehall was oversubscribed with requests for help from all over the country.