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Friday, 28 August 2015

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Brampton to lobby crime chief in fight to retain CCTV cameras

Community leaders are ready to fight to keep Brampton’s CCTV system.

Mike Mitchelson photo
Mike Mitchelson

The parish council – along with city and county councillors – are to lobby Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Richard Rhodes.

Their action comes after a report on the subject was written by Councillor Mike Mitchelson, who represents Brampton on Carlisle City Council. This was presented to the parish council at its meeting in the Moot Hall on Tuesday.

In January Mr Mitchelson proposed that the town’s three cameras be rerouted to the police station, on Longtown Road.

They are currently fed into a room at the Civic Centre in Carlisle through a contract the city council has with BT. However, this is due to end on Monday because of cutbacks announced in 2012 designed to save £180,000 a year by reducing the number of cameras in the Carlisle district from 63 to 15.

Mr Mitchelson said he had support for his idea but that it had hit a stumbling block.

He said: “Following discussions with the city council, they are prepared to assist in the redirection of cameras.

“I have also met with the police at Brampton who have forwarded the idea to headquarters. Any scheme would have to have the permission of Cumbria Constabulary for the go-ahead.

“The situation at present is that, unfortunately, Cumbria Police at headquarters currently has not given permission for the scheme.”

Mr Mitchelson also pointed out that Brampton will not be included in a new CCTV programme to install 54 cameras across Cumbria which will be monitored from police headquarters in Penrith. Any CCTV schemes in the county have to be co-ordinated through this project.

He told The Cumberland News: “The CCTV in Brampton has proved to be successful as it has helped bring to a conclusion incidents which have come to court. I would really like to see some flexibility among those making the decisions to allow a local solution to a local problem.”

Funding would come from the personal allowances of the city and county councillors and from the parish councils. The footage would not be monitored but instead used retrospectively.

Mr Mitchelson said he would be writing to Mr Rhodes, as would fellow city council member Stephen Layden and Lawrence Fisher, who represents Brampton on Cumbria County Council.

At the parish council meeting, there was strong support for lobbying Mr Rhodes.

Councillor Ian Pennington said: “I think these cameras are a must.”

Vice-chairwoman Gillian Hodgson added: “A letter has to go to Richard Rhodes with our strong opinion that these cameras should not be taken down because once they are taken down we have no chance. We need to push forward very quickly.”

Councillor Darryl Francis suggested the council also ask why Brampton was not included in the county-wide scheme and if the decision could be reviewed.

An Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner spokeswoman said: “The Police and Crime Commissioner welcomes any contact from Brampton parish council and Councillor Mike Mitchelson. The county-wide CCTV scheme was agreed in February and the number of cameras and locations were based on recommendations from Cumbria Constabulary and agreed with the local district councils.”

She added that the 54 new cameras would be in place by the end of the year and any additional cameras would not be at their expense and would be installed afterwards.



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