A Council representative beleives "it would not be practical" to have volunteers monitoring town centre CCTV around the clock...

In 2016, Clacton’s problem with anti-social behaviour and street drinkers prompted TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL to the launch the Public Spaces Protection Order.

The hope was it would deter groups from loitering in a restricted area opposite and near McDonald’s, by giving police officers additional enforcement powers.

But since the scheme was set up, only five people have actually been convicted under the order, which has now been extended for three more years.

Tendring Council and Essex Police are also still receiving a “significant” amount of calls asking them to do something to tackle street drinking, according to a report.

Councillor Lynda McWilliams, Tendring Council Cabinet Member for Partnerships and Chairwoman of the Tendring Community Safety Partnership, previously said: “Those five individuals are people who failed to follow an instruction by a police or council officer to move on, stop drinking or otherwise follow the PSPO.

"The figure does not include those who have been positively engaged with.

“It is important to note that the PSPO is only one tool in the box to deal with anti-social behaviour, alongside engagement with vulnerable people and support for social programmes which aim to prevent street drinking and loitering to begin with.

 “Though the PSPO is a useful tool – which is why we have recently extended it for another three years – it cannot be used to just move on those others may consider ‘undesirable’".

Shoplifting in the town is also an issue, which Scott Pepper of the Counter Crime Partnership and Tendring Security, deals with on a daily basis.

He is now calling on the authority to monitor the area’s CCTV footage more frequently, so shoppers feel safer and criminals know they are being watched around the clock. 

“In Felixstowe, their CCTV is monitored, and in Colchester there are full-time CCTV operators,” he said.

“In Clacton, the cameras record, but there is no one watching them [all the time], so unlike in other towns, the council is not proactively supporting the shops.

“It has a knock-on effect as well because thefts contribute to a loss of money, which might then see shops closed down.

“It might also put potential businesses off opening shops in the town centre and it might also make residents not want to go into town either.

“The equipment is all there, so it is a shame, and we have suggested a volunteer team, but the council does not want it.”

Lynda McWilliams believes a monitoring team would not be practical.

“The positioning of cameras is determined using intelligence provided by Essex Police to ensure they are at their most effective, with additional ‘patrols’ also carried out,” she added.

“We will not reveal when these patrols are carried out, in case criminals use this information to their advantage. Footage is always recorded, and images can then be requested by police for relevant times and places as part of any investigation.

“Warning signage and the cameras themselves act as both a deterrent to criminals and as reassurance to members of the public.

“Though the offer of volunteers is welcomed, due to the location of the Control Room within our Careline centre it would not be practical for people outside of Tendring District Council to monitor the cameras because of issues including data protection, safeguarding, and of course ensuring we remain Covid-secure.

CCP can be adopted by Community Safety Partnerships (CSP), Business Improvement Districts (BID) or Businessess Against Crime (BAC) organisations either in full under the CCP branding OR white labelled under a district's existing scheme branding.

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To join a scheme or discuss launching a new one in your area...