Mum slams cost-cutting CCTV switch-offBy Becky Barnes
September 07, 2012
A mum has slammed the council’s cost-cutting decision to switch off CCTV cameras after her teenage daughter’s purse was swiped in the town centre.
The woman from Bracknell, who wished to remain anonymous, found out Bracknell Forest Council pulled the plug on 15 cameras last October, after her 17-year-old daughter had money stolen on Saturday.
She said: “I am absolutely fuming – I was told the cameras have been switched off to save money but you can’t put a price on people’s safety.
“It’s disgraceful – what if someone gets hurt and the person who did it gets away with it because there’s no evidence?”
The teenager was shopping with her sister and a friend when she put her purse down in a hair salon in The Broadway for a ‘split second’ and found it had been snatched at 1.45pm.
She said she was in a shop with just two other customers, one of whom made a ‘swift exit’ when she said her purse had gone. Her mum said: “As soon as she realised it had been taken she went to the police station and was crying hysterically.”
Within 10 minutes a ‘large sum’ of money had been taken from the teenager’s account and another attempt was made to withdraw cash from a town centre ATM.
Her mum said: “She is absolutely heartbroken – she worked hard for that money. The bank will give back the money as it is fraud but the purse had her birth certificate, other cards and was of sentimental value.”
The woman said she and her daughter feel there was a delay in tracing the culprits because of the lack of council CCTV cameras.
Princess Square Shopping Centre security control allowed the teenager to look through its CCTV. Rob Morris, general manager of Bracknell Regeneration Partnership (BRP), said: “We have 32 BRP-funded cameras – with 27 in the shopping centre to provide people with security and to assist the public and shops with stopping criminal activity.”
Her mum said: “You should not have to be looking over your shoulder. The council want people to use th`e town yet are putting a price on people’s safety.”
Cllr Iain McCracken, the council’s executive member for public protection, said the council was disappointed to hear of this incident.
He said the CCTV cameras were switched off after a review which found the system with fixed cameras in the town centre and in Sandhurst was not providing “good value for money in the current financial climate”.
He added: “As a result, we have been pursuing a more flexible CCTV arrangement which uses up-to-date technology and allows cameras to be moved around the borough to places where they will be most effective.
“Matters are now in hand to purchase and install these cameras in a phased way over the coming months.
“During the transition, CCTV coverage in Bracknell town centre is provided by private businesses and Bracknell Regeneration Partnership.
“The town centre regeneration plans will also include CCTV.”
A police spokeswoman said: “A number of lines of enquiry are underway, including viewing CCTV at the shopping centre, and contacting the bank to see if they have CCTV at the cash point where the card was used. Anyone who witnessed the offence should contact PC Christopher Holland via 101.”