Published on 9 August 2005
Archived on 9 September 2005
Criminals and those intent on breaking the law in south Warwickshire may be unaware that their every move is being monitored on cameras. The warning comes after a recent case involving a violent thug who was caught after being identified on CCTV cameras around Stratford town centre.
The CCTV system covering the major towns and villages in south Warwickshire is operated by Stratford-on-Avon District Council. Some 75 cameras record footage 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which last year resulted in 535 arrests.
"Fear of crime tends to be top of the list for most people, so CCTV was introduced to protect communities and help police," said Cllr Juliet Short, portfolio holder for community services.
"Having actual footage of illegal activities contributes towards greater detection rates of crime which can lead to a reduction in crime rates as well.
"The recent horrific case in Stratford-upon-Avon in which a man was jailed for life for attacking two women can only go to show how valuable CCTV can be.
"District council officers started to monitor a vehicle after repeated incidents of erratic driving, and a parking attendant subsequently tipped off police when the driver was acting suspiciously near a school.
"This led to the police linking him to an attempted rape after the car was searched and evidence found that linked him to the scene.
"Had it not been for the vigilance of the CCTV operators watching him and liaising with parking staff and the police, a violent criminal could have still been on the loose."
Figures show that in 2004/5 there were just under 62 crimes per 1,000 population in Warwickshire, compared with the national average of 105 crimes per 1,000, making Warwickshire one of the safest counties in the country. CCTV is very much a partnership venture, with the district council working closely with the county council, the police, Stratford Town Partnership and numerous retailers. It is particularly useful for the latter in co-ordinating the Retail Radio Link which helps local businesses minimise retail crime and maintain public order.
The system costs around £200k a year to run and new developments in the near future include automatic number plate recognition to help track vehicle crime and movements.
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Tel: 01789 267575