CCTV '˜not the only tool' in police effort to combat crime
The work of police officers in Berwick has been praised by Northumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner.
Vera Baird said: “We have the most fantastic neighbourhood police here in Berwick, led by Inspector Davy Garrick.
“They have a fabulous network of contacts and they work extremely well together.”
She made the comments after being asked about the planned refurbishment of Berwick’s CCTV system.
Councillor Georgina Hill asked why Berwick Town Council and its partners were having to fund its estimated £15-20,000 cost.
“There are no resources open to me that could pay for it,” said Ms Baird. “We are in dire financial circumstances.”
She explained how the force had suffered a 24 per cent cut to its budget in the last financial period and warned that the police precept would have to increase.
She continued: “CCTV was Berwick Town Council and Northumberland County Council’s responsibility and it remains in those hands.
“I understand the cameras are not in a good state and that the best that can be done is trying to find the best ones and focus on them.
“But I don’t think we should get carried away with the importance of CCTV,” she added. “It’s not the only tool.”
Northumbria Police now has around 400 body-worn cameras at its disposal and these are likely to be used by Berwick officers.
Although they are primarily used to gather evidence in domestic violence cases, they can also be used to assist officers dealing with anti-social behaviour problems.
The town council decided to fund the refurbishment of the CCTV system because it felt it would be more effective than body-worn cameras.
Berwick’s original CCTV system cost around £150,000 when it was installed some 15 years ago but the new ones will only cost a fraction of that.
Berwick Town Council has earmarked £15,000 in its draft budget but indicated funding support may come from other sources, including the Freemen Trustees and Licensed Victuallers’ Association.