CCTV helping to catch criminals in Blackpool town centre

CCTV is helping to tackle crime in Blackpool town centre since surveillance was reintroduced, new figures have revealed.

Thursday, 6th July 2017, 10:41 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:46 am
Blackpool CCTV control centre
Blackpool CCTV control centre

In the 12 months from April 2016 to March 2017, the police have requested footage from the cameras relating to 226 assaults, 51 sexual assaults and 84 anti-social behaviour related incidents.

It is not known how many convictions evidence has led to, but officers said CCTV was “an invaluable tool”.

Blackpool reintroduced live surveillance in November 2015 after the service was controversially axed in 2013 due to council budget cuts.

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Cameras at Blackpool CCTV control centre monitor the town centre

After a £52,000 cash injection to upgrade the outdated equipment, funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner, the council teamed up with police and businesses to bring back manned CCTV in the resort.

For two years the cameras had been recording but nobody had been watching in real-time until the system was re-launched.

As well as council officers, volunteers were trained to work in the control room.

The latest figures are from Blackpool Council’s Community Safety Performance Report for 2016/17.

Cameras at Blackpool CCTV control centre monitor the town centre

Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of the council, said: “We always recognised the importance of CCTV monitoring and are delighted the police have found footage so valuable in assisting with the detection and investigation of crime.

“The commitment shown in 2015 by Blackpool Council, Blackpool BID (business improvement district), and the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner to staff the CCTV control room and restart round-the- clock monitoring is clearly delivering vital security benefits to our community and for visitors.

“The return of CCTV monitoring by council officers, Blackpool BID wardens and trained volunteers is an invaluable tool to detect criminal activity and anti-social behaviour on camera.

“Incidents can be reported to the police quickly, helping apprehend offenders, reduce crime, and provide valuable evidence to aid prosecution.

“It also gives more assurance to people that they can shop or enjoy social time in Blackpool town centre and feel safer and more secure.”

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “CCTV is an invaluable tool in monitoring town centre activity, in particular any incidents of a criminal nature.

“Efficient use of CCTV is in the public interest and is a key weapon in our arsenal of evidence which can help us apprehend offenders, reduce crime, protect the public and obtain justice for victims.

“CCTV is and remains a significant part of protecting communities in Blackpool in a proportionate and measured way.”