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Extra CCTV cameras added to cover Oswestry

Oswestry | News | Published:

More CCTV cameras will be trained onto Oswestry's busiest streets at night as part of ongoing work to crack down on anti-social behaviour.

The volunteer-run CCTV scheme, launched in Oswestry in 2001, was given a complete overhaul two years ago with better quality recording and wireless cameras.

Volunteers have helped with an average of 600 incidents each year and in the past three months the CCTV organisers have already carried out 40 reviews of evidence.

Coordinator, Jim Stafford, in a report to last night's annual Oswestry town meeting, paid tribute to Oswestry Town Council for supporting the system since its inception in 1999.

"Since the new system went live in 2015, the council has paid for extra cameras covering Coney Green, the Oswestry Road and King Street junction and two cameras at the Gatacre Pavilion," he said.

In February a further bid was submitted to the West Mercia Police commissioner for £26,500 to add further cameras.

"We want to cover the Smithfield Road car park and the Castlefields area and would also like three mobile cameras which can be deployed quickly to resolve emerging hot spots for crime and anti-social behaviour. We hope this bid will be successful," he said.

Mr Stafford said two new cameras were being installed over the coming days.

"Last summer the camera covering Willow Street - the busiest camera on the system because of the night-time economy - came down when the corner of the Get Connected Shop on which it was fixed crumbled.

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"This has made it much more difficult for police to successfully investigate allegations of assault and disorder and removed the ability of CCTV staff to warn police when problems might be developing," he said.

He said the property company which owned the building wanted a significant payment for the camera to be put back.

"Owners of properties are usually pleased to provide sites, knowing that CCTV cameras make Oswestry a safer place to do business.

"There is no single site which offered the same vantage point and so the town council has agreed to fund an extra camera so two can cover Willow Street.

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"Fortunately public-spirited local businessmen, Halit Sevim, owner of USA Fried Chicken and the Turkish Barbers, and Russell Price, manager of the Wetherspoon pub immediately agreed to have cameras on their premises. Both are strong supporters of our Pubwatch scheme."

Last year the CCTV won the Star Council project of the year award. There are currently 21 volunteers who give up their time to monitor the cameras. The youngest is 23 while the oldest is 97.

"They cannot monitor the cameras 24/7 but they do contribute 300 hours a month, which equates to £27,000 a year if we had to pay staff. On Saturday nights the volunteers will stay on duty until 5am to support the police."

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