Monmouth and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce

CCTV - News Update December 2009....

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CALLS FOR URGENT REVIEW INTO CCTV

Monmouth District Chamber of Trade and Commerce is calling for the Town Council to urgently review the issue of CCTV in the town.

Despite a reassurance in August that the Town Council Working Group will reconvene to consider the matter again, the amount of time that this will take means that for some it will be too late. Brian Ramsey, Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce said: "It is clear that the recent spate of burglaries in the town is having a detrimental effect on the businesses of the independent traders that make such a contribution to the unique nature of our town, which is a feature much appreciated by residents and visitors alike.

The Town Council has a responsibility to all and it is clear from the petition that was submitted in April of this year that residents in the town want CCTV to be reinstated as soon as possible. The Town Council has doggedly stuck to their viewpoint that CCTV only benefits the traders and the Police, which is clearly not the case in any of the other towns who have remained in the County Council camera partnership. The benefits to all are obvious and proven in each of the other 3 towns, with a marked reduction in anti-social behaviour and criminal activity. It is time that the Town Council took note of the wishes of the people of this town and fulfilled their demands.

>We believe, in this coming financial year, that Monmouth Town Council will yet again have the lowest budget of any of the towns in the CCTV Camera partnership by a substantial margin. For less than £1.50 per resident per year, Monmouth could once again be part of a county wide scheme for crime prevention and reduction."

CCTV - News Update July 2009....

CCTV July Update

CCTV - CHAMBER RESPONSE TO TC DECISION....

"On 18th May, the Finance Committee of Monmouth Town Council agreed to re-convene their CCTV Working Group, in light of the recent Chamber petition calling for the reinstatement of CCTV in the town.

Brian Ramsey, Secretary of Monmouth & District Chamber of Trade and Commerce,said:

"The Chamber welcomes the news that the Finance Committee has re-convened the working group. We would urge them to listen to residents and community groups in the town and would expect that these sections of the community will be fully involved. This will ensure that the electorate are fully represented. Moreover, the town councils of Abergavenny, Caldicot and Chepstow all report excellent progress with the CCTV Camera Partnership and we are certain that the working group can learn much from their experience."

CCTV - MONMOUTH WAITS....

PRESS RELEASE - 1 MAY 2009

MONMOUTH DISTRICT CHAMBER OF TRADE & COMMERCE

CCTV - MONMOUTH WAITS FOR TOWN COUNCIL RESPONSE

"The Chamber was surprised not to receive a formal acknowledgment to the petition for the reinstatement of CCTV presented at the Town Council's offices on Friday 3rd April. This petition was signed by well over 1000 of the town's residents.

Last week we learned that, rather than discussing the matter at the full Town Council meeting on Monday 27th April, the matter had been referred for discussion by the Finance Committee to their next meeting on Monday 18th May. The Chamber is disappointed at this delay and wishes to support the strong local feeling amongst residents, businesses and visitors for the reinstatement of CCTV.

We understand that the £12,000 contribution would represent 8.4% of the Town Council's total budget of £143,000 for 2009/10. In an effort to reach a compromise on the issue, the Chamber would be willing to commit a similar percentage of its 2009/10 budget to the £12,000 CCTV cost. We believe this offer to be unique, in that no other Chamber in the Monmouthshire CCTV partnership has made a donation to their Town Council's CCTV cost. Our offer is conditional on progress being made on the issue by the Town Council not later than 31st July 2009. Moreover, we are confident that once the Town Council returns to the CCTV Partnership they will begin to see the same community safety benefits that the other towns are currently enjoying."

(231 WORDS)

Background notes

Monmouth Town Council voted not to pay £12K contribution in Feb 08

- Cameras switched off in Feb 08

Town Council undertakes feasibility study into CCTV (Jul 08 - Jan 09)

- Report recommends that CCTV is not funded by Town Council

Town Council votes not to fund £12K to rejoin CCTV Partnership (Feb 09)

Monmouthshire County Council pays £186K pa for CCTV Partnership

Three other Monmouthshire Towns involved

- Abergavenny, Caldicot, Chepstow

- All report problems in past but now happy with systems

Public meeting held on 26 Feb 09, facilitated by Chamber of Commerce

Public support overwhelming at this meeting

Petition organised in Mar 09:

- 1300+ signatures, 1000+ of whom were Monmouth residents

Open letter to Mayor handed in with Petition on 3 Apr 09

- Copy of open letter included belo

Councillor T Christopher

Monmouth Town Council 3rd April 2009

 

Dear Terry

PETITION FOR THE REINSTATEMENT OF CCTV IN MONMOUTH

1. You will recall that I e mailed you on 10th March to advise that the Chamber of Commerce was to organise a petition as described above. We have now completed this task and the subsequent petition is attached. The results are summarised as follows:

Number of Petitioners: 1344

Exclusions* 307

Total Residents/Workers in Town: 1037

*You will note that I have been harsh in excluding those that do not live/work in Monmouth and have erred on the side of caution.

2. Notwithstanding the exclusions, this indicates that there are more than one thousand people who reside in Monmouth, a considerable number of the electorate, who would like CCTV reinstated. The Chamber of Commerce would like to remind you of the One Voice Wales statements with regard to the Responsibilities of a Town Council:

"Individual powers include.... crime reduction measures."

This is extracted from the One Voice Wales website which explains the role of community and town councils (http://www.onevoicewales.org.uk/allabout-councils/become-a-councillor/what-is-a-community-or-town-council). The same OVW statement goes on to explain that: "Community and town councillors represent the people living in their local area at the nearest level to the community." With these responsibilities in mind, we would like to ask the following questions:

Bearing in mind your responsibilities for Crime Reduction, what measures are the Town Council currently considering with regard to alternatives to the MCC CCTV User Group scheme?

Bearing in mind the significant number of people who want to see CCTV reinstated in Monmouth, how does the Town Council's decision to remain outside of the camera partnership represent the views of local people?

3. We look forward to your response.

Regards

Brian Ramsey

Secretary

Press Release 3rd March 2009....

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE HOSTS CCTV CAMERA MEETING

A packed Monmouth Priory listened intently for more than 2 hours on Thursday 26th February at the public meeting to discuss Monmouth Town Council's recent decision to remain outside of the CCTV Camera Partnership in Monmouthshire. The meeting was chaired by Chamber Secretary Brian Ramsey and included input from the Town Council, Police, Monmouthshire County Council and the other 3 Town Councils involved in the scheme (Abergavenny, Caldicot and Chepstow).

First to speak was Councillor Nick Hackett Pain who spoke for about 50 minutes, including questions, about why Monmouth Town Council had accepted his recommendations not to re-join the scheme. The main thrust of his argument was that there was a lack of discernible public demand, no need for the cameras because of a lack of crime in the areas covered by the cameras themselves and that they did not represent value for money for the taxpayers of the town. Next to speak were Superintendent Johnson and Inspector Boycott of Gwent Police, both of whom emphasised that, whilst they would obviously prefer to have CCTV available to them as an additional tool, they would nevertheless ensure that their officers worked diligently to deliver the quality of service that the public deserved with or without CCTV cameras. Both officers are recently appointed and confirmed that they looked forward to working with all parties to find a suitable resolution to the issue.

Brian Ramsey then read a statement from Councillor Paul Wadsworth, Abergavenny Town Councillor who could not attend the meeting. The statement said that, whilst they had experienced problems with the CCTV partnership in the past, they now enjoyed excellent support and were working extremely closely with all partnership organisations. The result has been a significant success in stopping anti social behaviour in a car park that had plagued the town for many years. They were benefiting from the provision of additional cameras, some with wireless link, that could easily be deployed to crime hotspots (identified by crime pattern analysis) in order to maximise the effectiveness of the system, at no additional cost for the Town Council. Brian then went on to state that, whilst Caldicot Town Council could not send a representative to the meeting he had nevertheless spoken to staff at the Town Hall, all of whom confirmed that CCTV was considered to be a success in the town, despite problems in the past. Caldicot Town Council recently announced their intention to spend £25.5K on CCTV and the provision of additional Police Community Support Officers, underlining their commitment to the broader issue of community safety in the town. Brian then read a statement from Chris Norman, Monmouthshire County Council CCTV Development Officer, who confirmed that partnership working was significantly improved, additional funding was being identified for new equipment (either from within the MCC budget or WAG funding) and that the 3 towns involved were benefiting from this additional funding and better cooperation.

Councillor Ned Heywood from Chepstow Town Council was the final speaker and he underlined the experience of the first 2 towns by providing a clear picture of how effectively the CCTV system could be used to target particular crime hotspots and make a real difference in reducing crime figures. Chepstow Town Council had experienced real issues in the past but in the last 18 months the improved partnership working between all organisations had resulted in significant improvements.

Brian Ramsey concluded the meeting by stating that the 3 areas that Monmouth Town Council had based their decision on (demand, need and value for money) had all hopefully been addressed by the various speakers and statements received. Public feeling in Monmouth is such that there is a discernible public demand (the debate at times was quite passionate and there were many questions from the audience) for CCTV to ensure that people feel safe and the Town Council has a clear responsibility to address the issue of community safety. The need for the cameras to detect more crime can be addressed by re-joining the scheme and taking advantage of the improved technology, funding and partnership working that is now the norm. Finally, the value for money argument can hopefully be satisfied by the evidence provided by all who remain involved; a positive approach to partnership working, coupled with improved technology can lead to a better quality of service, but only if your town is involved in the scheme. Monmouth Town Council should listen to the opinions and feelings of the people of Monmouth and reconsider their decision not to pay £12K and re-join the scheme.

Press Release 19th February 2009....

CCTV