Move to beef up CCTV is praised
Mark Jennings has welcomed the move to transfer CCTV operation from Cotswold District Council to Cirencester Town Council which he believes will improve safety in the town
THE father of a Bibury man who died after a brutal attack in Cirencester has praised a move to improve CCTV monitoring in the town.
When 25-year-old Tim Jennings was left brain damaged and in a coma from which he never recovered following an unprovoked attack on a night out in Cirencester in June 2009, it sparked a reaction that more robust security was needed in the town centre.
And in 2010, the Standard backed petitions signed by around 1,000 people for CCTV monitoring to be increased in Cirencester, after it was revealed that Cotswold District Council had slashed CCTV spends to one of the lowest in the UK.
Now, Cirencester Town Council has announced it will finally be taking over the running of the town’s CCTV from CDC and will soon be launching a public consultation to find out what local residents want from the service.
Tim’s dad Mark Jennings said a better partnership between police and CCTV monitoring could prevent violent situations from building and resulting in tragedy.
"I’m still so angry at how my son died," Mr Jennings said. "It’s all very well the cameras being there but if they are not switched on and if they don’t have the force of the law behind them what’s the point?"
"In the day Cirencester is a beautiful market town but in the evening it’s got a terrible reputation. People are scared to go into town at night.
"What we need is for people to be able to tell the police that they can see a situation building and shut the situation down. I do believe there are people in Cirencester who would come forward and give their time to help."
CTC chief executive Andrew Tubb said that legal transfers were now in the process of being signed by CDC. As soon as the service was handed over, Mr Tubb said the town council would review Cirencester’s CCTV which currently runs for 24 hours a day but is monitored live for just 56 hours each week at a cost of £54,000 per year.
Mr Tubb said: "We will consult with the public about what their thoughts are about community safety and how they would like the town council to deliver services in the future. CCTV is just a single part of feeling safe.
"We want to look at newer more effective technology and explore opportunities for working with the police and local community groups to tackle and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in a proactive way."
He added that there would be no added cost to the taxpayer this financial year.
CDC leader Cllr Lynden Stowe said it made sense for the town council to take over CCTV operation and praised the partnership working between the authorities.
He added: "It bodes very well for our aim of devolving more responsibility to ‘grass roots’ level.”