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Preston city centre CCCTV: More public places to be monitored than ever before

Posted on - 18th March, 2015 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - News, Preston City Centre
A CCTV system in Preston city centre

A CCTV system in Preston city centre Pic: Tony Worrall

Coverage of Preston’s city centre by CCTV is set to be improved.

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Preston Business Improvement District has announced £85,000 is to be ploughed into improving and increasing the CCTV network in the city centre.

More roads and areas are to be covered as the network is expanded, following a recent upgrade to the digital platform powering the CCTV cameras.

It means the quality of the images recorded and the level of zoom and fine detail has been increased, helping Lancashire Police to identify those suspected of crimes.

Andy Coverdale, chair of Preston BID’s CCTV working group, said the cameras were one of the main weapons in keeping the city centre a safe place to visit.

He said: “The figures show that crime and anti-social behaviour is down year-on-year in Preston city centre and the CCTV network is a major factor behind that success.

“In a recent survey, 89% of the general public agreed that CCTV cameras should be used to openly monitor public places.

“This investment not only delivers immediate benefits, it will put us in a position to be able to continue to develop the network, incorporating new monitoring and intervention technologies.”

Charles Farrier, from campaign group No CCTV, said: “Despite cuts to public services it seems money can always be found for more surveillance cameras. In Preston the camera network is being “upgraded” by commercial interests in the form of the Business Improvement District – who seek to privatise public space and local decision making.

“Lazy, populist politicians continue to claim that CCTV cameras are a silver bullet, but research shows that cameras have a damaging effect on communities by increasing fear and reducing trust.

“A report entitled ‘Fortress Britain’, published by the New Economics Foundation, found that “knowing people”, whether it be caretakers, youth workers or each other, was the key to creating trust, whilst cameras increased fear and decreased trust. Surveillance cameras do not fix but
actually contribute to the breakdown of our communities.

“The expansion of Preston’s camera network, with more cameras and higher quality images will do noting but further erode the freedoms of the people of Preston.”

Funding for taxi marshals and a relaunch of the Pubwatch scheme have both also been agreed.

Mark Whittle of Preston BID said: “The taxi marshals have helped thousands of people get home safely following enjoying a night out since they were introduced some five years ago.

“They are proven to help make Preston an enjoyable place to have a good time in an evening and allow police resources to be directed in the right areas. Initiatives such as these are integral to Preston retaining its Purple Flag status; for the safest and most enjoyable night out in Lancashire”.

“Pubwatch is another success story supported by the BID which gives venues access to an online database of known trouble-makers and has a live banning committee which ensures those who cause trouble in licensed premises are stopped in their tracks”.

“This package of investment is all about keeping people safe in Preston and improving the experience they have, to keep them coming back. Preston is widely recognised as a safe city, but these improvements will go even further to ensure it remains so.”

A spokeswoman for the city council said: “We are pleased to be working alongside Preston BID and the Police on this investment into the city centre.”

What do you think about expanding the CCTV network? Do you feel safe in the city centre? Let us know in the comments below

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