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More surveillance cameras set for Cheltenham as CCTV funding increased

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 19, 2013

By JACK MAIDMENT POLITICAL REPORTER

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EXTRA surveillance cameras could be installed at the town's car parks.

Cheltenham Borough Council has agreed to spend £50,000 a year on improving CCTV coverage as part of a bid to make car parks safer. It would mean £250,000 being spent on the cameras over the next five years.

Members hoped increasing the number of cameras would help cut shoppers' fear of crime.

No decision has been made about whether the extra cash will be spent on more cameras or simply updating the current system.

The authority currently owns and maintains 68 cameras in the borough.

But the council has no control over how they are used as they are operated by Gloucestershire police.

Councillor John Rawson (LD, St Peters), cabinet member for finance, believes the cameras are an important tool in fighting crime.

He said: "The cameras are used pro-actively by police including storage of images and the release of any to third parties.

"We, as a council, have no input in their operational use.

"The police employ professionally-qualified staff to operate and control the CCTV system.

"Our CCTV budget is £52,000 – which included running costs such as maintenance and electricity – and £50,000 has also been allocated in the coming year's capital budget for new investment.

"We are still looking at how this might be used to improve our CCTV network.

"They play a very important role in detecting and dealing with a range of crimes and the evidence they record is of great value to the police because it increases the chances of securing a conviction.

"The cameras are a visible deterrent to anybody who might be looking to commit an offence.

"Their presence lets offenders know they run a high risk of being caught and brought to justice.

"It is particularly useful at specific times of year where there may be a potential for an increase in crime or in aiding our operational campaigns such as driving down acquisitive crime over the festive period.

"CCTV systems also provide a major source of reassurance to our communities and we will continue to work alongside our partners to use it and bring about further crime reductions in the borough."

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