Pensioners change the view on park cameras

After nearly a year’s delay, security cameras are all set to be up and running in St 
Nicholas Park.

Graham Collis, the district council’s manager for CCTV, admitted technical difficulties had led to the delay in long-promised surveillance of the Warwick park where there had been problems with anti-social behaviour, especially after dark. But a small victory has been won by elderly residents living in sheltered accommodation near the Charter Bridge side of the park. District councillors had said the £7,000/£8,000 each cameras linked to their own 24-hour control monitoring system would only be necessary in the car park area and on the footpath near Emscote Road.

Pensioners like 73-year-old Janet Johnson and her neighbours, who all live close to the bridge, strongly disagreed. By September last year 43 of them had signed a petition and told the Courier they were so angry about not having a working camera near them that they were prepared to bake cakes and hold sales until they’d raised money to buy their own. Mrs Johnson said: “The youths responsible for making us frightened at night have often run off by the time the police get here but we have to put up with them drinking, overturning dustbins and swearing at us if we dare to complain. Many of my neighbours keep their curtains tightly closed and feel completely intimidated.”

District councillor Linda Bromley (Con, Warwick South) regularly spoke out at meetings in support of the Pickard Street pensioners, pointing out that police had different sets of statistics about the number of times they’d been called to incidents. The Friends of the Park group also criticised distribution of the cameras.

On Tuesday, CCTV chief Mr Collis said a report to the executive committee had led to a change in thinking and it had since been decided that three rather than two 24-hour monitored cameras plus five external cameras will be installed.