Uckfield residents have been advised to report to Sussex Police every incident of crime or anti-social behaviour they see.
The advice comes from Uckfield Town Council.
Councillors believe immediate full reporting of incidents and information will help the police build a true picture of criminal activity within the town so that appropriate action can be taken.
Members of the council’s environment and leisure committee on Monday (November 18) considered three separate, but linked, reports on criminal activity and disorder.
One was a data study – based on police figures – of crime in Uckfield, the second was a report about protecting town council property through CCTV and the third related to closing at night the car park at Ridgewood Village Hall.
In considering all three reports, councillors returned to the view that residents’ reports of all Uckfield crime would bring better results than physical measures such as CCTV or a gate at the car park.
One of the surprises for councillors was the relatively low level of recorded crime in some areas, where anecdotally, there was said to be considerable disorder.
Members of the town council’s environment and leisure committee urged residents to report all criminal activity/anti-social behaviour and “information” which can help police officers build a picture of what is going on.
They believe this will help the police build a true picture of what is going on and support calls for action.
Councillors noted that Sussex Police was recruiting more officers and that three PCSOs had been assigned to Uckfield and surrounding villages.
How do you report crime?
Call 999 if:
- a serious offence is in progress or has just been committed
- someone is in immediate danger or harm
- property is in danger of being damaged
- a serious disruption to the public is likely
Call 101 for non-emergency enquiries.
You should use this non-emergency number to:
- Report a crime not currently in progress – for example a stolen car, burglary, or damaged property.
- Give information to the police about crime in your area.
- Waiting times for answering calls 101 have dropped greatly in the last year
Reports can also be made online. Visit this web page of Sussex Police
CCTV ruled out
Installing CCTV cameras to help protect Uckfield Town Council property from crime and anti-social behaviour was ruled out.
The costs of installing CCTV cameras to aid security at town council properties was presented to the meeting of the environment and leisure committee.
Work is continuing “to understand the costs involved in adding to the existing town centre CCTV system and higher-end of CCTV recording, the report said.
Places which could benefit from CCTV for detecting and recording crime and
anti-social behaviour include:
- Osborn Hall/Hempstead Recreation Ground, particularly in light of the recent vandalism which, councillors were told, is becoming a frequent occurrence in this location;
- Victoria Pleasure Ground;
- Ridgewood Village Hall
- Foresters Hall; and
- West Park Pavilion.
The original estimate provided for just Ridgewood Village Hall for three cameras, associated video recording equipment and USB back up for police evidence, a small lockbox, consumables and labour for installation was in the region of £1,200 plus VAT.
Adding cameras and associated labour and installation to the other four buildings has been estimated to cost in the region of £1,300 to £1,500 for each site, depending on the number of cameras required – a total of up to £10,000 for all five sites.
The report to councillors said: “This would be a much more affordable option than connecting to the high definition town centre CCTV system with fibre optic links to Sussex Police Headquarters, and more affordable than new modern solar panel/wind turbine designed columns to which CCTV can be attached without the need for power and therefore useful in open spaces and on-street use, but these are coming in at around £10,000 per unit.
However, the committee was strongly against cameras and believed the “reporting” strategy would be of more benefit.
Cllr Ben Cox said CCTV had been installed at Selby Meadows but there was still criminal activity.
“Unless we are going to pay for somebody to be watching the CCTV all the time, with a finger on the buzzer, to send in the police in ‘now’ . . . I don’t see we are going to get much from this.
He said there was a lackadaisical attitude to reporting crimes, so that if there were no reports which could be checked again the CCTV, it was just “dead data”.
“We are the most watched country in the world but no-one is actually watching,” he said.
“I sometimes think that CCTV makes people feel comfortable but unless we change the way we report crimes, and we actually try to get the police out to those crimes, it seems like a big waste of money,” he said.
Cllr Karen Bedwell said the town council did not have the time and resources to look through CCTV.
Cllr Gary Johnson said the effort should be in gathering intelligence, working with the PCSOs and making sure things are correctly reported.
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