A COUNCIL claims it is proving that an investment in surveillance cameras in Leek is paying off – by naming and shaming three offenders caught by the system.
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s CCTV system, which was upgraded at a cost of £500,000 four years ago, is monitored on a 24/7 basis by dedicated staff based in Chapel-en-le-Frith, in the Peak District.
The council has now cited two court cases from earlier this year to highlight its effectiveness.
Jade Salmon, aged 22, of Cruso Street in Leek, and Dean Birchall, aged 24, of Morley Street Leek, were charged with section four public order offences following an incident in Leek town centre at around 12.40am on Saturday, May 11.
They appeared before magistrates at Newcastle on Thursday, June 6, and Friday, June 7, respectively.
Birchall was fined £300 with costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £30, and Salmon was fined £50 with costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £20.
Christopher Scragg, aged 29 of Park Road in Leek, was charged with drink driving after CCTV saw him drive off in a vehicle at around 12.50am on Monday, May 6. He appeared before magistrates at Newcastle on Friday, May 24, where he was disqualified from driving for 17 months and fined £375 with costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £37.
A council spokesman said: “Proactive monitoring of the system played a key role in two incidents helping to lead to the arrest of two people for public order and one for drink driving.
“The public order arrests came after the monitoring officer identified potential disorder issues amongst a group of people and kept an eye on the group as they moved around Leek town centre when two of the party attacked another.
“The drink driving arrest also followed the quick thinking actions of the monitoring team who passed information to the police after spotting a man driving off in a vehicle despite appearing unsteady on his feet.” Councillor Gill Burton, cabinet member for communities at the district council, said: “Incidents like this really show the value of our investment in CCTV and of the partnership working we have with the police.
“In both of these cases, the experience and quick thinking of the monitoring officers meant that the offenders could be arrested and prosecuted.
“I hope this sends out a message of reassurance to the wider communities within Staffordshire Moorlands that we do monitor the cameras and will take positive action to address issues as they arise.” Inspector Clare Riley, Staffordshire Moorlands Local Policing Team Commander, added: “The pro-active use of CCTV in the Moorlands often assists officers in identifying offenders involved in a variety of incidents.
“The CCTV operators’ proactive approach is beneficial as it means officers can intervene early on, before incidents escalate or a crime is committed.
“Effective partnership use of CCTV is undoubtedly an extremely useful tool for policing and public safety, in both a preventative and evidential capacity.”
The district council spent £500,000 on improving the CCTV system across the Staffordshire Moorlands after the local authority was criticised by North Staffordshire Coroner Ian Smith for failing to maintain the cameras following the death of Leicestershire businessman Ian Marshall in 2005.
The improvements were made in 2009 and included expanding the system by adding nine cameras, changing from analogue to digital recording and consolidating the monitoring function into a combined facility.