Calls to ‘reinstate comprehensive CCTV coverage’ in Hastings town centre amidst violent crime rise
The leader of Hastings Borough Council has been asked to look into ‘reinstating comprehensive CCTV’ in the town centre.
At a virtual full council meeting on Wednesday (December 15), Conservative group leader Andy Patmore asked Labour council leader Kim Forward whether she would look into “reinstating comprehensive CCTV in the town centre” in light of an increase in violent crime.
Cllr Patmore was referring to a cut agreed by the council last year, which saw the authority’s 24 hour team of CCTV operators made redundant.
While the CCTV team was made redundant, the cameras remain switched on and can be accessed via the Sussex Police control room in Lewes.
Cllr Patmore said: “Will the leader tell us what she will be doing to combat this terrible spike in violent crime and please can she look at reinstating comprehensive CCTV in the town centre, so that everyone who enjoys Hastings nightlife, especially at Christmas, feels safe?”
Cllr Patmore also quoted recent police figures which show Castle ward had seen a 49 per cent increase in violent crime and was considered to have the highest rate of public place violence in the whole of Sussex.
As a result of the spike, Sussex Police has adopted a policy of objecting to licensing applications within the ward, which seek to extend opening hours.
Responding to the question, Cllr Forward said: “I have long been concerned, as have the ward councillors and Cllr Judy Rogers, whose portfolio covers community safety, about what is happening in the town centre.
“[That] is why I asked for a meeting with the leader of East Sussex County Council and the chief inspector for police in Hastings, which happened some short while ago now.
“We are determined to continue to work in partnership with the police to do all that we can, using our warden presence, to try and combat the issue of antisocial behaviour in the town centre.
“However, policing the town centre remains very much the responsibility of the police force and I can assure you Cllr Patmore I will be asking for an urgent meeting again where we will sit down again and try to get to the bottom of what is going on.”
Cllr Forward added that the CCTV system was still being monitored by police, despite the closure of the council’s monitoring team.
She said: “The CCTV is in fact functioning and available and the police have access to that. The CCTV is still there.
“I have it on good authority that the police are using that CCTV and have the capacity to zoom in as well and see what is going on.
“Whilst we as a small borough council will do all we can to work in partnership, I think we have to very much acknowledge that the actual policing of the town centre and those violent crimes and trying to ensure there isn’t any violence of any kind is actually the police responsibility.
“But as I said, we will do all we can to ensure our town centre is safe for everybody.”