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Call for CCTV in Beccles

PUBLISHED: 16:56 06 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:15 01 August 2010

BECCLES business people and the town's top police officer are calling for CCTV in the town centre to tackle crime after a spate of vandalism.

Insp Tim Powell, who leads the Beccles policing sector covering Halesworth, Bungay and Southwold, says the area needs cameras.

BECCLES business people and the town's top police officer are calling for CCTV in the town centre to tackle crime after a spate of vandalism.

Insp Tim Powell, who leads the Beccles policing sector covering Halesworth, Bungay and Southwold, says the area needs cameras. And business leader Christine Pinsent said she would like to see them installed to help protect local businesses.

But Waveney District Council, which already pays for CCTV in Lowestoft, says they are too expensive to put up in Beccles.

Insp Powell made the call at Tuesday night's town council meeting, after attending a residents' meeting on Puddingmoor in Beccles. There have been 18 recorded crimes on the street in the past year - 12 of which have been damage to cars, homes and property.

There has also been a spate of broken shop windows in the town centre, most recently at the Eastern Daily Press and Beccles and Bungay Journal offices and the Gazette bookshop over the weekend.

Insp Powell said youths had recently been caught uprooting flowers in the churchyard.

“In towns like Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth and Southwold, we owe it to the public to have a CCTV system so it is a deterrent and can assist us in identifying offenders'” he said.

“I would be delighted if Beccles

had a CCTV system, not covert but overt.”

He added: “It does not work in all instances. Lowestoft has CCTV and they have trouble every weekend. But it is another tool in the toolbox.”

Town councillors were interested in the proposals and said they would look into the issue further.

A Waveney spokesman said: “Waveney District Council is sympathetic with calls for CCTV to be installed in Beccles, but the enormous costs would rule it out at the moment.

“The average cost of installing just one camera is approximately £20,000 (camera and pole) plus an additional cost of approximately £10,000 for BT to get the signal back to the operations room in Lowestoft.”

He said once installed, the annual running costs would be more than £1,000 per camera.

“Even then, one camera would not necessarily reduce anti-social behaviour, but merely move it on to a different location. Nevertheless, Waveney District Council remains committed to reducing anti-social behaviour in the rural towns,” added the spokesman.

There are no accurate figures for the number of CCTV cameras in Britain, but it is believed to be more than 4m - more than anywhere else in the world.

Christine Pinsent, of Beccles Business Association, said she would like to see CCTV cameras installed to help protect local businesses but that traders could not afford to install them themselves: “Everyone would like it but small businesses can't afford it. At the end of the day you've got to pay your business rates, and there's not a lot left after that.”

She added: “Since we've had the Shopwatch scheme I don't think we've had as many problems as we used to. And we need to be looking at giving the kids things to do, like a new cyber café; then we wouldn't need CCTV cameras.”

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