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CCTV - Putting Wick in the picture

Issued: 21 Jun 2007

Work has started on an eight-week project to install nine extra CCTV cameras in Wick. Locals are being urged to come forward and volunteer to help monitor the cameras.
The cameras will help Northern Constabulary and the Caithness Community Safety partners to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in Wick.

Installing a CCTV system provides a range of benefits to all members of the community: reduced vandalism and damage to property and increased feelings of safety and security.

The extension of CCTV in Wick started recently when GMR Henderson began the installation of the foundations for the camera columns. Scotshield will provide a state-of-the-art portable CCTV system. The Highland Council~s Transport, Environmental and Community Services Area Lighting Engineer, Robbie Gunn, is assisting and overseeing this work. The Highland Council will assist in maintaining the equipment.

Notices will be positioned in locations around the town alerting the public to the existence of CCTV cameras. The CCTV system should be fully commissioned within eight weeks allowing time for quality checks to ensure that the system meets customer's quality expectations and is `fit for purpose`.

Highland Councillor Graeme Smith, Chairman of the CCTV sub-group said: "this additional equipment will greatly enhance CCTV coverage in Wick specifically in the areas of Pulteneytown, the harbour and Argyle Square. The new cameras have the primary objective of deterring crime and tackling all forms of anti-social behaviour including littering, dog fouling and even fly-tipping. CCTV is a good example of community planning and the consultation process highlighted community wide support for the project.
~I would like to express appreciation to the grant funding organisations and the local businesses for their on-going support. Without doubt, the enthusiasm and support shown by local Wick businesses was a significant factor in attracting the balance of funding. Invaluable advice and guidance in relation to recruiting volunteers to monitor the CCTV system has been provided to the group by Catherine Paterson, Development Officer, at Volunteering Highland."

Chief Inspector John McDonald, Area Commander for Caithness & Sutherland, and Joint Chair of the Caithness Community Safety Action Team said: "Public space CCTV is a vital tool in the prevention and detection of crime and anti-social behaviour within our communities. Furthermore, it has proven to be invaluable in reducing the fear of crime and to providing public reassurance. We have already seen successes from the existing four cameras in Wick Town Centre, and welcome the expansion of the system to incorporate the further nine cameras."

Highland Councillor Katrina MacNab said: "The CCTV system is quite unique in the Highlands, in that it is focusing on a residential area. Wick will benefit from the same sense of security that Thurso Town Centre enjoys. The Pulteneytown area will have CCTV cameras in high density residential areas. Something that when consulted the residents embraced. It will do much to combat anti social behaviour and allow residents to feel 'safe' in their community."

The new Highland Council Ward Manager, David Sutherland and Joint Chair of the Community Safety Action Team, added his endorsement: "The cameras will be of real benefit in enhancing community safety and is an excellent example of partnership working."

Wendy Campbell, who represents the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council welcomes the extension of the Wick CCTV system, and the possibility of attracting volunteers for monitoring. She said: "This is a fine example of how local people can support their communities, and shows the commitment of local residents to improve our Town."

Alister Traill, Rector, Wick High School said that: ~I am very much in favour for the feeling of safety and security CCTV brings. It causes a decrease in crime and anti-social behaviour.~
Thurso's networked CCTV system has been in place for five years and has had a "significant effect" on the reduction of vandalism and anti social behaviour within the Town.

Alastair Angus, local Thurso business man, played a key role in implementing and sustaining CCTV in Thurso. He remains active in the running of the Thurso CCTV system and said: "Thurso was the first area in the Highlands to pilot the innovative use of trained volunteers to act as CCTV camera operators. I am particularly grateful to the volunteers in Thurso that have given up their time over the past five years to such a worthwhile scheme. In planning for the monitoring of the new Wick CCTV system, we can see the benefits of amalgamating the Thurso volunteers with the new Wick volunteers, which will give us more flexibility and enable us to be a more robust community group."

As in Thurso, the system in Wick will be monitored by volunteers. The CCTV group invites applications from members of the community who would be interested in becoming volunteer CCTV operators in both Wick and Thurso Police Stations. Successful volunteers will receive comprehensive training and on-going support will be provided.

Anyone interested in volunteering to be a CCTV camera operator, can obtain an information sheet and application form by contacting either: Police Constable Jennifer Baughan, Community Safety Officer, Northern Constabulary, Thurso Police Station, Olrig Street, Thurso KW14 7JA, Tel: 01847 805300 or Katrina MacNab, Pulteneytown People~s Project, 41 Murchison Street, Wick KW1 5HW, Tel: 01955 606950 or Lorna Simpson, Argyle Square Residents Association, 40 Argyle Square, Wick, Tel: 01955 605502.

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme