Council told its CCTV system does not meet Home Office standards for securing prosecutions
Story by: MAGGIE GIBSON A PARISH Council which spent thousands of pounds on CCTV to fight crime and disorder has been told by police that the images are not good enough to secure prosecutions. Upwell parish councillors were shocked to find out that the sy
Story by: MAGGIE GIBSON
A PARISH Council which spent thousands of pounds on CCTV to fight crime and disorder has been told by police that the images are not good enough to secure prosecutions.
Upwell parish councillors were shocked to find out that the system, which cost more than �5,000, does not meet Home Office recognised specification. Norfolk Constabulary gave �1,000 towards the cost of the nine cameras in 2007.
Installation of the cameras at trouble spots including the village hall and the skate park has significantly reduced crime.
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Councillors were unaware that police would need further back-up forensic evidence and witness statements until they were told by a police officer at a meeting of the parish council.
Councillors who have seen images from the CCTV are convinced that many of them are perfectly clear and are better than those used on the BBC's TV programme Crimewatch.
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Parish council chairman Councillor Neil Morgan said: "The CCTV has been very effective as a deterrent but we are obviously very disappointed at being told the images are not acceptable on their own for a prosecution. The images are absolutely clear and being able to prosecute was the whole point of purchasing the system."
Images taken off the system involve the theft of oil from a tank outside the village hall, break-ins, vandalism and anti-social behaviour.
The system was installed by Farmwatch Ltd, a company set up in West Norfolk because of the high incidence of rural crime.
Danny Cracknell, who joined Farmwatch after retiring from Norfolk Constabulary said: "The parish council approached us because it was getting constant problems. We have installed the system to stop the vandalism and in the past our systems have identified perpetrators who have been prosecuted.
"We installed the system and we won't walk away from it. At the end of the day if we have to we might even take out a private prosecution. If a person can be identified action should and will be taken. The courts should decide"
A police spokesman said: "The guidelines on this are very strict and if the standard of the image is not up to standard we cannot use it. Regarding the oil theft from the village hall, there was a full investigation and the CCTV still provided was not of a high enough quality to support a successful prosecution.
"We would always look for collaborative evidence, images are rarely used on their own and would have to be of an exceptional quality.