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Caithness News Bulletins November 2005

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New Wick Town Centre CCTV System Now Up And Running
A new community safety measure is in place in Wick with the switch on of a 55,000 Public Space CCTV scheme. The scheme has been made possible by the Area's Community Planning partners coming together with the Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council and local businesses, including UKAEA, to raise the funding and provide the facilities to accommodate the new cameras.

The Highland Council's 27,000 funding was supported by 10,000 from Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise, 7,000 from HITRANS, the strategic transport partnership for the Highlands and Islands, 5,000 each from the North Highland Community Health Partnership and UKAEA and 1,000 from the Community Council. Northern Constabulary will now take control of the operation of the system within Wick Police Station, managing the day to day operation of the equipment in partnership with the Council's Community Safety programme.

The new four-camera system has the potential to accommodate 12 additional cameras and it is the intention of the local community safety team in Caithness to seek additional funding to extend the area cover by public space CCTV cameras in line with local concerns. Establishing the system in Wick was the first priority which should make the task of securing additional finance to roll out further cameras across the community slightly easier.

Wick will now join seven other towns within the Highland CCTV partnership, which includes Thurso, enabling Northern Constabulary to continue to decrease crime levels in respect of public order and anti social behaviour. As with these other communities it should lead very quickly to increased public confidence of those who live in and use Wick town centre.

Councillor David Flear, Convener of The Highland Council's Caithness Area Committee, said: "This is a longstanding ambition for the community realised and it is hoped that it will greatly assist with addressing local town centre community safety concerns.

"In recent years local High Street businesses have suffered vandalism to their premises, which has been expensive to repair and increased their insurance premiums. The operation of the new system should significantly assist local retailers and the community to maintain the attractiveness of the town centre and hopefully secure increased investment to Wick."

Wick West Councillor Bill Fernie within whose ward the cameras are located said "I am extremely pleased that the town centre of Wick now has 24 hour a day cover from the police station.  More people may be persuaded that committing offences in these areas is not worth while now that the chances of being detected have increased greatly. The fact that the cameras are recording at all times means that anyone committing offences in those areas seen by the camera may have this used as evidence against them in court cases saving valuable police time.   Local councillors have been pressing for some time to have a CCTV system set up and we have now made a good start".  "Last year I saw a similar system in operation in Stornaway and new it would work here in Wick.  The quality and definition of the pictures is incredible allowing for example the reading of car number plates and in some circumstances even smaller lettering."

The scheme was installed by Scotshield Fire and Security Ltd using a range of technology including wireless video and telemetry technologies and they will continue to maintain and develop the system for the community.

The new system is in addition to CCTV in operation at Wick High School, Wetherspoons pub and others around the town.