Last night Lynn and I discussed CCTV proposals for Frodsham that CWaC officers have been working on since the council received our petition with over 1000 signatures in 2016.
Now Lynn and I have been round this particular track more times than I care to recall over the last 10 years or so.
Consistently and repeatedly we have asked for CCTV to be installed only to be met with objections such as - the scheme would be too expensive, there would be no one to monitor any live feed, the crime figures in Frodsham don’t justify it etc. etc.
All this has been very frustrating - especially because we know the cost of the technology is falling rapidly, virtually everyone of us carries around a smart phone equipped to record high definition video and the cost of ‘cloud storage’ of any video feed is also either free or very affordable.
The scheme the officers have drawn up is for a centrally mounted camera able to pan, tilt and zoom to be located around the Bear’s Paw junction so that the camera can look up and down the A56 and Church Street. There is the possibility of adding an additional camera along Church Street. This scheme would allow the police to monitor Frodsham from their control room.
All this can be done for an indicative figure of between £80-£100k! However CWaC do not have any budget for this at the moment. I well recall a scheme set to cost around £30k being turned down by CWaC as being too expensive 7-8 years ago.
Whilst Lynn and I are pleased that finally both the police and CWaC are taking this issue seriously we don’t think what is proposed fits our needs.
My first thought is with HD cameras now being very cheap we should be more ambitious and make sure that all of the town centre is fully covered. I see this being done by having several simple HD ‘dumb’ cameras located on both sides of Main Street and Church Street looking up and down - and recording what is being seen (and heard) to cloud storage that would get overwritten every month. This ‘simple’ footage could supplement anything coming from a pole mounted camera - and would give a different perspective not hampered by the trees. These simpler cameras could also give reassurance to people in residential parts of the town to discourage anti-social behaviour too.
I’d also want to see any CCTV scheme be extended to cover Castle Park.
Lynn and I also mentioned to officers that any CCTV scheme for Frodsham should be considered alongside the need for traffic control cameras and matrix traffic control signage. Ironically I can envisage a situation where the first matrix sign being introduced to Frodsham will come courtesy of Castle Park Trust - looking to advertise activities within the park. Such a sign could well provide up to date traffic and air quality information...