£68,000 grant secures Oswestry's new CCTV system

Oswestry is to have its ageing CCTV system renewed, it was revealed today.

New funding means that modern cameras can be installed, along with a new system to beam pictures to the CCTV control room at the town's police station.

It follows a grant of £68,000 which was given to Oswestry Town Council from Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore.

Crime and anti social behaviour plummeted in Oswestry when the original system went live in 2000.

Today a former mayor, one of the leading lights in securing that system said she was delighted that it was being renewed. Heather Bickerton was Oswestry Town Mayor when the system was installed.

She said: "Crime was drastically reduced when the CCTV was introduced in the first place. I started to campaign for a system two or three years before it was installed as a member of the town's Crime Prevention Panel.

"Recently I have been concerned that the finances would not be available to replace the cameras and I am absolutely delighted that the Police and Crime Commissioner grant has been made.

"With West Mercia police cutting the number of offices in the force it is more important than ever for market towns such as Oswestry to have CCTV cameras to be the eyes and ears to prevent crime."

Current mayor Councillor John Gareth Jones added: "In 1999 Oswestry Town Council decided to take the lead and to be the driving force to bring CCTV into Oswestry.

"In 2014 we have just secured a grant of £68,000 from Shropshire Council, through the Police and Crime Commissioner, to replace that 1999 system."

The Oswestry CCTV initiative is recognised as the most successful, volunteer-run system in Britain.

It was set up with funding from both Oswestry Town Council and the then, Oswestry Borough Council. However Shropshire Council recently announced it was cutting its budget for CCTV systems in the county.

Staffed by volunteers the Oswestry CCTV project not only records crime and anti-social behaviour, its operators can direct police to events or suspicious incidents as they are happening.

Deputy Crime Commissioner Barrie Sheldon said: "I think all councils are having trouble funding CCTV, but we believe in CCTV and think it is important for communities.

"It is also very useful for investigations."

The programme for installing the cameras has not yet been drawn up.

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