Revealed: Sidmouth sergeant's plan for CCTV

PUBLISHED: 06:30 18 April 2016

The proposed locations for CCTV cameras

The proposed locations for CCTV cameras

Archant

Sidmouth's police sergeant has launched a new bid for a town-wide CCTV system - to catch criminals and protect vulnerable citizens.

Sergeant Andy Squires is now splitting his time between Sidmouth and Seaton. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 6983-28-13AWSergeant Andy Squires is now splitting his time between Sidmouth and Seaton. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 6983-28-13AW

Andy Squires is proposing to install 20 high-definition infrared cameras to form a ‘spine’ from Radway to the seafront, writes Stephen Sumner.

He needs to raise £30,000 – the same amount donated by residents and businesses after the chamber of commerce began campaigning for CCTV a decade ago – and is investigating funding sources.

“It’s not only a case of crime prevention and detection,” said Sgt Squires. “We regularly have vulnerable missing people, often with dementia and Alzheimer’s, found in areas that would be covered by CCTV. A system like this would be hugely beneficial.”

Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce pulled the plug on its £60,000 bid for CCTV and returned the cash after concerns about coverage black-spots meant costs escalated, but numerous calls have since been made for a town-wide camera system.

Sgt Squires said the need was emphasised again last year with a spate of 13 burglaries and attempted burglaries on commercial properties and two recent jewellery shop break-ins.

“The vast majority of these would have been caught on camera if we had a system that was up to date and clear,” he added. There are already seven cameras in place in the town centre, but they do not offer the coverage Sgt Squires would like.

“We needed to think about upgrading the system, so I started investigating.”

The proposed CCTV system could be expanded, to the Ham, for example, in the future if there is a proven need.

The location of a control room is yet to be determined, but Sgt Squires plans to recruit volunteers to monitor the cameras during the day and some ‘key evenings’. Such a scheme already operates successfully in Exmouth.

Sgt Squires approached Sidmouth Town Council for funding at a meeting on Monday, but members deferred their decision to avoid prejudicing the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioner election. The incumbent, Tony Hogg, has chosen not stand, and it is not yet known if his replacement will support the project.

Sgt Squires is keen to know what residents think of his plan.

What do you think? Email sidmouth.letters@archant.co.uk

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