Fringe Box



Letter: Is the Town’s CCTV System No Longer Manned?

Published on: 2 Oct, 2022
Updated on: 2 Oct, 2022

From: Dave Middleton

In response to: Millbrook Floral Troughs Vandalised, ‘Utterly Senseless’ Says MP

The town CCTV in Guildford used to be an excellent system.

It was owned by Guildford Borough Council but housed in Guildford Police Station and staffed and operated by Surrey Police staff, who had direct access to the police radio network.

The benefit of this was that when a CCTV operator spotted anti-social behaviour, fights, or an offence being committed, they were able to call up on the radio and direct any available police or PCSO patrol to the incident, enabling the matter to be dealt with and where appropriate arrested, reported for summons to court, or simply given “words of advice”.

The operators could also use the cameras to “patrol” by looking around the town and if a member of the public phoned in an incident, they could zoom in on the area to spot the offenders and gather real time video evidence of the matter, updating the police officers who were on their way to deal with it.

Also, if a person was wanted by the courts or police for an offence, for questioning, or even as a missing person, the operators could watch out for them.

In the same way as a patrolling constable of old would keep an eye out for habitual criminals and troublemakers on their beat, the regular CCTV operators got to know the “ne’er do wells” of the town and could keep an eye on them.

Contrary to Ben Paton’s reply, a staffed CCTV system is much more valuable than an un-staffed system, as matters seen can often be dealt with at the time, with offenders ‘caught in the act’ rather than identified subsequently, if at all.

If Surrey Police is truly no longer staffing the town CCTV system, that is a real shame and a dreadful waste of a valuable resource. Perhaps Chief Constable Stephens, or whoever is the current Chief Superintendent for Guildford Borough might like to comment on this?

The Dragon has invited a response from Surrey Police.

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