This petition is now closed, as its deadline has passed.
We the undersigned petition Westminster City Council to install CCTV cameras along Essendine Road at the corner with Morshead Road to help reduce vehicle crime and burglaries.
Petition update from the council, 05 December 2011Response from Councillor Ed Argar, Cabinet Member for City Management
Letter dated: 2 December 2011
Dear Ms. Tulley,
Re: Your Petition for CCTV Cameras along Essendine Road
Thank you for your petition, submitted earlier this year, containing your and the other signatories' request that CCTV cameras be deployed in Essendine Road at the corner of Morshead Road to reduce vehicle crime and burglaries. Under the Council's petition scheme a Cabinet Member Report is only produced for the attention of the relevant Cabinet Member if a petition has been formally presented at a meeting of Full Council. Normally when the petition has not been presented formally, but has been tabled online or by another means, the relevant senior Council Officer would respond to the points made by letter. As a courtesy, and in the light of the number of signatories you collected, I am nonetheless in this case responding by letter myself, following the lengthy consideration of your petition by Council Officers.
I have been advised by the Strategic Director for City Management at City Hall, Dr Leith Penny, who is the senior Officer with responsibility for CCTV, that Officers have discussed the contents of the petition with the local Neighbourhood Crime Reduction Officer, Jim Howard, who I understand has also been in touch with you regarding your concerns about the level of motor vehicle theft and burglary in the area. Dr Penny and his officials have also reviewed the crime statistics for the area over the last year, which they inform me show a fall in overall crimes of this nature in the Maida Vale area.
As you may be aware, the City Council is currently reviewing the policies which govern its use of CCV across the City, and is clarifying the policy and operational guidelines about its deployment and use. We believe that, while CCTV does have a role to play in keeping the city safe and the streets moving, its deployment must be carefully regulated and strictly proportionate to an evidenced need for it in a particular location (based upon crime/ASB statistics, Police requests etc). CCTV cameras must have a clearly defined purpose, Iinked to the achievement of operational aims and must demonstrate good value for money.
Specifically the deployment of CCTV cameras on street for crime/ ASB reduction purposes is dependent on passing an "appropriateness test", namely:
- Is there a clear issue that the camera is trying to solve that cannot be addressed through other means? Can this be evaluated / evidenced?
- Is there robust intelligence / data supporting the use of cameras – police support and evidence for example?
- Does the use of cameras affect perceptions positively?
- Does it reduce the terrorist threat?
- Does it address traffic management and compliance issues?
- Are sufficient resources available?
- Does the camera and the images it captures comply with legal obligations on data?
- Is there an exit strategy in place for when the issue has been resolved?
The level of crime, including robbery, violence, and disorder, as well as motor vehicle crime and burglary in and around Essendine Road and across your ward is not above average and therefore I am afraid I am advised by Officers, who have responsibility for making the relevant objective assessment of the evidence and case for a camera to be deployed, that it is not sufficient to warrant the deployment of CCTV cameras in this location. I also do not believe that a supporting police request for cameras at this location has been received.
That said, it is of course important to establish what other actions can be taken by the City council and the police to tackle the concerns that you have raised. I understand that discussions are continuing to explore how to address the concerns raised in your petition. Steps taken to date include:
• A review of the environment, lighting and trees/shrubs, has been carried out to see if improvements can be made to increase lighting levels and to remove those overhanging branches and shrubbery which might obscure sight lines thus reducing the opportunity for motor vehicle crime and burglary.
• I understand you have now met with your local Westminster Warden who will be a useful point of contact for you in the event environmental issues need addressing.
• An open meeting with the local police to discuss the issues and identify possible solutions was on held 15th October at Morshead Road and Essendine Road over a 3 hour period where residents were spoken to with crime prevention and other general advice offered.
• Discussions with the Crime Prevention Officer and local police to provide guidance and assistance on how to prevent and reduce crime, including the role of neighbourhood watch have also occurred. I understand that a letter has been sent to residents within the street offering contact telephone numbers of both police and environmental officers within WCC and to offer more specific personal advice in the event it is required.
• Neighbourhood Watch and the Residents Association have been spoken to and there is a clear intent and plan to improve the flow of information to those organisations to ensure residents are kept informed. Jim Howard our Neighbourhood Crime reduction Officer has also compiled a letter for circulation to residents, addressing the issues highlighted as local concerns.
• A street briefing with the mobile police station was held on 15th October at the junction with Morshead/Grantully Road junction for an hour from midday andan hour from 1300 hours in Essendine Road opposite the primary school. General crime prevention advice was given to passers by.
The City Council (and Council Officers from the Neighbourhood Crime Reduction Service who report to my Cabinet colleague Councillor Nickie Aiken as Cabinet Member for Community Protection) as well as local police will regularly review matters with the Resident Association and Neighbourhood Watch, and of course yourself as the person who has highlighted these issues with the council, to assess the impact of these actions and consider whether further measures are required in the longer term. I appreciate that you may be disappointed by the decision not to deploy the CCTV requested in your petition, but I hope that the above has set out the reasoning behind that decision, and the other steps that have been taken to address the crime-related concerns highlighted in your petition.
Councillor Edward Argar
Cabinet Member for City Management
cc. Cllrs Prendergast, Rowley and Moss
Cllr Jan Prendergast, the petition creator, joined by: