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CCTV plays vital role in helping to detect and prevent crime in Fenland says council

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Fenland District Council has hit back at criticism over the operation of CCTV across the district following a vandalism attack in Wisbech involving an In Bloom display.

Wisbech in Bloom volunteer Alan Wheeldon questioned the usefulness of CCTV after the incident involving a decorated bike in Museum Square which was trashed before being hurled into the basement of a nearby property smashing two windows.

A council spokesperson said: "Unfortunately, following a check of the cameras by an operator, CCTV did not capture this incident taking place as the location was out of view of the cameras."

Teenagers have been blamed for this criminal damage in Wisbech. (53036987)
Teenagers have been blamed for this criminal damage in Wisbech. (53036987)

However, she said the district's CCTV provides a vital role in helping the detection of crime and in raising an emergency response if necessary.

Fenland shares monitoring of its cameras with Peterborough City Council with the CCTV control room located in Peterborough.

There are 508 cameras linked to the control room, but the spokesperson said they include connected premises and customers that are not necessarily on display or actively monitored.

The spokesperson explained: "The CCTV operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year from the shared CCTV control room, located in Peterborough. It is monitored by one or two trained CCTV monitoring operators depending on the time, day and analysis of workload in the control centre.

Teenagers have been blamed for this criminal damage in Wisbech. (53036993)
Teenagers have been blamed for this criminal damage in Wisbech. (53036993)

"There is also an additional post provided by the police to undertake reviews which was not available prior to the shared service being created, thus creating further additional capacity.

" The system provides proactive, real-time surveillance, to help detect and prevent crime and raise an emergency response if necessary, and also retrospective surveillance, providing crucial evidence to support the police and other emergency services in gathering evidence relating to an incident.

"Since the shared CCTV service was launched in February 2020, CCTV performance has improved. The number of CCTV patrols conducted in 2020 (January to December) was 6,501 and to date in 2021 there have been 4,144 (January to October), compared to 3,713 in 2019.

"Since January 2020, the CCTV cameras have recorded a total 2,219 incidents, leading to 160 arrests. In addition, we now have a greater awareness of perpetrators of crime crossing the district/Peterborough city border, to the benefit of both areas.

"Police have been working hard to address crime and anti-social behaviour issues in Wisbech, in partnership with Fenland District Council and other partners. In the past two weeks, the local Wisbech policing team has been carrying out targeted work on these issues.

"Supported by footage from CCTV, clear criminal incidents have been identified and arrests are expected. Those incidents where criminal investigations have concluded without identifying an offender will be subject of a review to consider possible anti-social behaviour interventions, such as dispersal orders, and wider Community Safety Partnership (CSP) support.

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