FENLANDER: This assault one of many CCTV images caught by council’s mobile cameras

FENLAND’S mobile CCTV cameras have caught more than 400 incidents of crime or anti-social behaviour in less than 12 months.

A YOUNG man lies on the ground, injured in a late-night fight in March town centre. A group of spectators looks on while people continue to trade blows, unaware perhaps that above them the camera is rolling. Within minutes police will be on their way…

This is just one of 421 incidents of crime or anti-social behaviour filmed by Fenland District Council’s wireless, redeployable CCTV cameras since December 2009. Violent assaults, theft, criminal damage and drink-driving are among the offences that have been recorded.

The images have led to at least 51 arrests and 73 fixed penalty notices. In some areas identified as particular hotspots, crime levels have been cut by up to 80 per cent.

That is a measure of the success that has been achieved in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour following the introduction of the wireless system in the district last year.

The system, which works alongside the fixed CCTV network set up previously, currently employs five redeployable cameras. They can be set up in places where a particular need has been identified and remain there until the problem is resolved or another spot is shown to be a higher priority.

Councillor Ken Mayor, FDC’s Safer Fenland portfolio holder and chairman of the Safer Fenland Partnership, said: “The big advantage of these cameras is their flexibility. When we see a trend developing in a particular area, we can react and respond rapidly and we can target particular problem areas. At the same time, they are also considerably cheaper to operate.”

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The cameras can be mounted on street lighting columns or connected to buildings and have infra-red capability that allows them to be used in areas of low light. They are currently in operation in various parts of Wisbech and March.

All the images are viewed back at the Safer Fenland CCTV control room, operated by FDC, where they are monitored and recorded 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Recent surveys carried out by FDC and the police among residents in Norwich Road and Falcon Road, Wisbech, have shown strong support for the redeployable cameras, with 96 per cent of respondents saying they would like more to be introduced.

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