Hitting back at CCTV group response

Dear Sir

Councillor Topping is Chairman of the CCTV group. I am sorry if they are not happy just because I think mobile cameras are better than the fixed ones they erected but Councillor Topping knows it is part of a councillor’s duty to look to make sure public money has been spent wisely.

The present CCTV cameras cost £30,000 to put up. All of that was public money from two sources. Recently a senior council official requested the CCTV group to supply a financial statement about their group. They did not give him that information.

The group applied to the council for £20,000 but did not submit their constitution with their application. Later, the council’s most senior officer dealing with CCTV matters requested the group to give him a copy of their constitution and this was not done. I personally asked Cllr Topping several times for a copy. He refused.

He has known of all these requests for information. I asked several times to meet with them but my offer was not accepted. I asked the council’s auditors to look at the whole procedure under which they got the grant.

The auditors were not happy at the procedures and changes have been made to the grant system. As a condition of the grant, the group was required to submit a fully worked up proposal to show how the money was going to be used in detail. The group never supplied this fully worked up proposal. The people of Fraserburgh asked for improved safety in Broad Street and High Street areas. But the CCTV group erected three cameras on Shore Street to cover the Shore Street pubs at the Royal and what used to be the George and Dragon pub. That does not help help my constituents in the central area or in other parts of the town and it was not what the people of Fraserburgh asked for.

Now they want to erect cameras on Shore Street again at its junction with Kirk Brae where again it will cover two pubs. My constituents throughout the town and area will not benefit from more fixed cameras to cover pubs on Shore Street at Kirk Brae. Mobile cameras can be moved to different locations to deal with anti-social behaviour wherever it arises in our area.

The CCTV group said last week that the cameras “can be deployed to other parts of the town centre”. It strikes me as crazy to spend £30,000 to erect fixed cameras on fixed poles only to say they might be moved.

The Fraserburgh cameras are not being watched at the time a crime is taking place. The recordings are only looked at AFTER a crime has been committed. So Police cannot be sent to catch the criminal at the time. Also crimes have taken place close to the cameras and the criminals have not been identified. Everyone knows that criminals know where fixed cameras are and will either cover up their faces or simply move to another area to commit crimes.

Fixed cameras do not stop crime overall; indeed, the number of minor assaults has increased in the area covered by the cameras since they were installed. On the other hand, mobile cameras can identify the criminals because the criminals do not know the cameras are there.

I have to speak out when I think my constituents are not being served to their best advantage. It is what councillors are here for - to serve their constituents. I would hope councillor Topping agrees.

Councillor Ian Tait