Plans to cut CCTV lead to crime fears

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LAYTON residents are warning cuts to CCTV services could turn Queens Park “back to the ghetto it was years ago”.

Members of the Queens Park Residents Association are concerned proposals to scale back Blackpool’s CCTV system will lead to an increase in crime across the resort.

Chairman Gwen King said: “The CCTV system is there for safety, security and reassurance.

“We don’t want Queens Park to go back to the ghetto it was years ago. We have all worked very hard with residents and local councillors to clean this estate up, it’s very low in crime compared to some areas.”

Cameras in the estate are currently operated by Blackpool CCTV Service but Blackpool Council and Blackpool Coastal Housing (BCH) – which manages the local authority’s housing stock – are planning to transfer the responsibility to Vitaline from June and alter the service.

It comes as police revealed a rise in violent crime across Blackpool and Fylde – from 5,409 incidents in 2009/2010 to 5,525 last year, or a rise of 2.1 per cent.

Mrs King added: “The CCTV system operated by the council throughout the borough could be closed down Sunday to Thursday.

“Crime in Blackpool as a whole will certainly rise, and be more prolific in the town centre both during the day and the night, if the CCTV is not running and being monitored on the closed days.”

But now power has changed hands from the Tories to Labour, residents hope there may be more possibility of changing the decision.

And they are being given a chance to have their say at a public meeting with BCH at 7pm on Tuesday May 24 at Blackpool Boys and Girls Club.

Peter Jefferson, chief executive of BCH, said: “We are not removing the CCTV service from Queens Park but are changing the way the service is provided.

“This approach will mean that either service charges for the tenants will reduce or they can choose other options to improve security on the estate.

“We will be happy to discuss these options with tenants at the meeting in May and also answer any questions they may have.”