New centre's CCTV causes MP concern

Tuesday, 30 December, 2008

Criminals could escape justice because bosses at a multi-million pound shopping centre have installed their own security camera system rather than linking to an existing network, it was claimed last night.

David Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds, and Suffolk police have criticised the Arc development in the town for having its own CCTV separate to that of St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

Mr Ruffley argued that criminals running from the streets of the old town into the new streets of the Arc, west of St Andrews Street, would 'drop off the radar' under the current planned arrangements. And police CCTV experts said two separate networks would not 'maximise opportunities' for the prevention and detection of crime.

Mr Ruffley said: 'This looks like a lack of joined-up-thinking. We have an excellent CCTV control room in Bury and now that the town centre is being expanded it would seem logical that this network would extend as well.

'It worries me that a criminal could be followed by CCTV in the town, only to drop off the radar as they enter the new development.

'While I am reassured that there will be links between the two networks and that images can be uploaded it would seem far more sensible, in the long run, to have one network covering the town or at least live feeds shared between the two.'

He has written to Bury police boss Chief Inspector Mike Bacon and the chief executive of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Geoff Rivers, voicing his concerns that security in the town would be compromised by two networks.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said: 'We would always like to see CCTV systems linked together, to maximise opportunities for the prevention and detection of crime. However, we can only have an input into planning decisions in an advisory capacity and the decision ultimately falls to the local authority.'