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Lights vandalism sparks new bid for CCTV in Ilkley town centre
9:16am Thursday 7th March 2013 in News
A new bid for CCTV cameras on town centre streets is under debate in the wake of the vandalism of Ilkley’s Jubilee Lights.
Ilkley Parish Council is to debate the funding of CCTV for the town centre, following thousands of pounds of damage being caused to the all-year illuminations on The Grove, despite opposition to CCTV monitoring on the streets in the past.
Local police and the councillor behind the Jubilee Lights project have asked for a new CCTV bid to be considered by the parish council.
Police told the council this week they still have no leads on the vandals responsible for the lights attacks. CCTV cameras in shops on The Grove did not point out into the street.
Past calls for CCTV in Ilkley town centre have met with opposition from those concerned about a loss of privacy, as well as the cost of cameras and monitoring, effectiveness of the system, and fears it will lead to a reduction in local policing.
Inspector Sue Sanderson of Ilkley’s neighbourhood policing team (NPT) has asked if the parish council would support CCTV for the town centre.
And the councillor behind the popular Jubilee Lights scheme, Rory Marshall, spoke in support of CCTV.
“It could only be a good thing in my opinion, if it’s even a mild deterrent and it makes someone think twice,” he said.
Vice-chairman Councillor Mike Gibbons said the issue had been raised with the local council several times since he joined it, and the cost had proved prohibitive. Although he said he was not coming down for or against closed-circuit television, Councillor Gibbons warned the issue of civil liberties had been raised before.
A group opposing CCTV in Ilkley made representations to the council less than ten years ago.
Parish council chairman Councillor Heathcliffe Bowen told fellow councillors: “Some people are very quick to raise the spectre of police states.”
Coun Gibbons said costs quoted previously had been high, although he recognised today’s digital systems may be cheaper to operate.
But Councillor Marshall pointed out CCTV is now commonplace in city centres, and footage is not constantly monitored – but can be viewed if a crime has been reported.
Parish clerk Alan Draper has been asked to research CCTV systems, talk to other local councils, and report back at the next monthly meeting.