Shropshire Star comment: CCTV cutback could prove costly
To fight crime effectively you need to be vigilant – and that means keeping your eyes open.
But is the town of Bridgnorth about to take its eye off the ball?
The security cameras which currently monitor goings-on in the town seem to be much appreciated by local traders, based on some comments.
Yet now it seems there is a possibility that the jobs of the three staff who monitor the cameras could be at risk. And if nobody is watching the images, then their value as a real-time trigger mechanism to respond to crime has been destroyed.
Live monitoring is far better than watching a recording a few hours later, when the crooks, if they are of that breed who prey on rural towns in the belief that they are a rural soft touch, may be many miles away and already disposing of their loot.
The first thing to acknowledge is that Bridgnorth has been a progressive and pro-active town in having the monitoring system. However, the signs have been there that things are moving backwards. One sign was the town council being forced to foot the bill to pay the people monitoring the cameras, after police decided not to fund them.
What signal does that send, when the police, our bespoke crimefighting force, does not see the value of such arrangements?
Operators are also said to have become frustrated after having their direct radio to police taken away. You can well imagine the frustration of watching a crime taking place and having no ready-made system which seamlessly allows them to alert police and keep them abreast of unfolding events in real time.
Of course, Bridgnorth might get away with it if it reduces the standard of its crime cover. Conceivably there will be no appreciable difference.
Crossing fingers and hoping there are no bad consequences is a policy of sorts. It is the sort of policy which can survive until something really serious happens in which, if somebody had been watching, the impact could have been lessened or even averted.
Chickens have a habit of coming home to roost.