Police plans for a CCTV system in Sidmouth have received a mixed response from users of social network Streetlife.

The Herald revealed last week how Sergeant Andy Squires is exploring the possibility of ‘a spine’ of 20 high-definition infrared cameras being installed to cover from Radway to the seafront.

He would need to raise around £30,000 to make any scheme a reality.

Sgt Squires is keen to know what residents think of the bid, and this week asked Streetlife users for their thoughts.

He posted: “Sidmouth town centre currently has a CCTV system which is well overdue for an upgrade.

“Technology has moved on in leaps and bounds since it was installed and for a fraction of previous estimates, one can now obtain over double the amount of virtually maintenance-free cameras in HD quality.

“CCTV cameras greatly assist police in terms of crime prevention, crime detection and evidence gathering. In Sidmouth, we also have frequent elderly high risk missing persons, the majority of which have been located within the scope of the proposed system. As readers of the Herald will have seen, I am currently going through an evaluation process to establish a) what the cost of such a scheme would be, b) whether the funds can be raised, and c) whether there is sufficient support for it within the town.

“I envisage a two phase process, the first stage being to get the system up and running, the second to set up a volunteer network of operators who could monitor the system at key times with a direct radio link to ourselves. Initially it would comprise 20 cameras staring at the Radway and covering all the way down onto the seafront. The cameras are wireless and the network could be extended if and when the need arises.

“If the majority of the town are vehemently opposed to such a system, obviously, I won’t proceed, however, if there is sufficient support I will do my best to progress it to fruition.”

Some Streetlife users held concerns.

‘Polarising Plebian’ ‘strongly objected’ the scheme, saying: “I don’t want to live in a society or place where I am constantly watched, least of which by volunteers.”

‘Paul’ said: “We are becoming a society where privacy is taking second place because of the lack of deterrent in crimes that are currently being committed. If the punishment for assaults, muggings and knifings were stronger, together with more police on patrol, then there would be little need for CCTV.”

‘Real Sidmouthian’ ‘strongly didn’t care’, adding: “I don’t have a problem with anyone watching me. I’ve nothing to hide...but I’m also unsure of how genuinely useful it is for the money.”

There was also strong support for the scheme.

‘Hetty Wainthropp’ said she had two children who often met friends in the town and, if they were hurt or attacked, she would be really glad someone would be able to see and send help. “Just maybe then I’d be able to sleep before he’s home safe,” she added.

‘Emily R’ said her 14-year-old daughter had pointed out CCTV was no different to sitting on a bench people watching.

She added: “I think it’s a good idea. Every city has them, they should also be in every town.”

Steve C wished Sgt Squires luck and said: “CCTV is one of the biggest deterrents of crime available. It is the criminal who needs to feel vulnerable not ‘Joe Public’ on the street.”

You can join the Streetlife debate by visiting www.sidmouthherald.co.uk

Tell us what you think about the CCTV plans by emailing sidmouth.letters@archant.co.uk