PROPOSALS that could see control of Wrexham’s CCTV system move to Colwyn Bay have been branded a disaster.
Wrexham Council, which is responsible for the CCTV system, has confirmed a regional review of North Wales’ operations is taking place.
Slamming the move, the town’s crime link co-ordinator Gerry Roberts says it is vital camera operators are people who know the area in detail. Mr Roberts, a former police officer with more than 25 years’ experience, has stressed control must stay local.
He said: “One of the proposals being considered is to centralise operations in Colwyn Bay. That would be an absolute disaster for Wrexham in terms of crime prevention and public safety.
“I think it would certainly lead to a rise in the amount of criminal activity on the streets. If you look at Wrexham, the retail area has grown so much in the last 10 years or so and the police are already under pressure.
“It is vital the people who operate the CCTV cameras understand the geography of the area they are monitoring and have local knowledge. These are key ingredients to success.”
Mr Roberts said CCTV had a vital role to play in the fight against crime.
“It is used in so many areas such as monitoring activities and recording evidence. Even for issues such as children going missing from their parents while the family is out shopping, the camera operators are invaluable.”
Mr Roberts stressed the current team involved in Wrexham’s camera system are all highly experienced people who know the area well.
“CCTV came on to Wrexham’s streets in the late 1990s and ever since has made a strong contribution to fighting crime.
“I am afraid a lot of that good work could be lost if Wrexham loses control of its own operations system.”
Cliff Ottley-Thistlethwaite, proprietor of InkXperts office supplies in Yorke Street, said:
“It would be terrible if the control of the CCTV went to Colwyn Bay, you would lose the local knowledge and contact.”
Alex Jones, who runs The Bank wine bar in Wrexham’s High Street, said: “The effects could be devastating for the town. It all boils down to knowing the area, that is a major reason for the success of the current system.”
Stephen Wickwar, managing director of Cynergy Security Ltd, said: “We have about 50 door
staff working in Wrexham. It would be a disgrace if Wrexham lost control of its CCTV. The current system is quick and efficient.”
Kevin Critchley, centre manager for Eagles Meadow, said: “There is concern businesses in Wrexham have not had an opportunity to provide input into review discussions.”
A spokesman for Wrexham Council said: “A comprehensive review for North Wales is currently ongoing but no decisions have yet been made.”
Michael McGivern of North Wales Police said: “Police are in discussions with the six local authorities in North Wales, but no decisions have been reached.”