Police chief urges CCTV ‘solution’

DAVENTRY must try to find a way to keep its town centre CCTV cameras, Northamptonshire’s top police officer has warned.

Speaking to the Gusher, Chief Constable Adrian Lee said it would be a challenging year for the force which is trying to save millions of pounds. He also urged local authorities to review street lighting switch-offs and warned the public that they need to be very careful when selecting a new police commissioner.

Mr Lee said: “I would urge our local authorities to work together for the community and find a solution to save CCTV in Daventry. All the other towns in the county have CCTV and it’s an important resource for tackling crime.

“I think that by working together and working with the MP, a solution can be found.”

On street lights, Mr Lee added: “Northamptonshire County Council have listened to us on road safety issues and crime, but there needs to be ongoing monitoring of it.

“The fact is darker areas will impact on the fear of crime, so we need to be aware that people may not feel as safe with fewer lights.”

The biggest upheaval will be the introduction of elected police and crime commissioners. Home Secretary Theresa May is replacing police authorities across the country as she believes it will improve transparency in policing.

However, critics are concerned it could become a political role.

The commissioners will be accountable for how crime is tackled but not for running the force.

Mr Lee said: “It will be a huge change to policing, the biggest in many, many years. The Government has a mandate to do it so we’ve got to co-operate and try really hard to make it work.

“Rather than working with 17 members of the police authority, we’ll be dealing with an individual, so it will certainly be more focused. There is great risk with one individual and that’s why the quality of candidates is important. We’ve got to encourage the very best people to come forward.

“It’s a large organisation with huge responsibilities for the safety of the public so I would like to see someone who brings real added value to the role, ideally with experience of running a big organisation. Knowledge of policing would be helpful but we can do a huge amount to get them up to speed.

“The electorate has to choose the best person for the county.”

Mr Lee said the force is also prepared to support security at the Olympics. He refused to reveal how many officers would be assigned but stressed the force would not be out of pocket or understaffed as arrangements such as managing holidays are already in place.

Funding the CCTV network will be discussed by Daventry Town Council on Monday evening.