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Vandal victim asks: Is Otley CCTV worth it all?
Questions have been raised about the usefulness of Otley’s CCTV cameras.
As reported in the Wharfedale & Airedale Observer, Otley and Yeadon ward has been given £18,305 to help keep the security cameras rolling.
The award, from North West (Outer) Area Committee, was hailed by councillors who said CCTV was a useful deterrent and helping police catch criminals.
And police have stressed the help they receive from CCTV, which in 2009 led them to tracking down the culprit who trashed disabled toilets.
But estate agent Gary Shankland, of Dale Eddison, said he struggled to get hold of images of vandalism at the firm’s Kirkgate offices earlier this year, while the nearby CCTV camera missed a previous incident altogether.
Mr Shankland said: “The first time there were no images because the CCTV was pointing towards the church and on the second we only got an image after a lot of trouble.
“The police told us they wouldn’t look through the film unless we could give them the rough time of the incident, which we didn’t know.
“I even offered to look through myself but they wouldn’t allow that. We eventually got the image thanks to the alarm company who told us when the alarm had gone off so we could give the police a time.
“It’s great to have CCTV but only if you’re able to use it properly. If properties are getting vandalised or broken into but they won’t look at the film because you can’t pinpoint the exact time then it’s an absolute waste of money.”
Police, however, point out it would simply not be cost-efficient to have an officer poring over hours of film in relation to low-level crime.
Inspector Richard Coldwell said: “If we can narrow a time down then the film will be searched and if there’s anything there we will use it.”
Leedswatch, meanwhile, which runs hundreds of cameras across the area, has told councillors CCTV in Otley has been running smoothly.
But an online comment by ‘James H’ said: “It’s a well-known fact the cameras in Otley don’t actually work. Utter waste of money.”
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