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Friday, 7 February, 2003, 18:04 GMT
CCTV system dubbed ineffective
Noel Perkins
Mr Perkins says he would not set up in business now
Crime surveillance methods in Caernarfon have come under fire from traders who say the CCTV in the town is ineffective.

Business owners claim the problem has been compounded by a lack of police on the beat.

We've had five large windows broken in two years

Trader Noel Perkins

Closed-circuit television cameras have been installed at key locations throughout the town, however, a number of late night disturbances have gone undetected.

North Wales Police defended the crime detection rates and said many arrests had been made following the spate of anti-social incidents.

However, Noel Perkins, owner of Dodrefn Perkins in Caernarfon, said he would not set up in business knowing what he does now.

"The situation is absolutely ridiculous - the CCTV isn't effective and the police are never round on the beat," he said.

CCTV camera in Caernarfon
The CCTV system has been criticised

"We've had five large windows broken in two years.

"It wouldn't be too bad if the situation was now resolved but it's just as bad as it's ever been.

"In hindsight I don't think I'd bother setting up a business in the town," he said.

Only one weapon

Clive James is the officer responsible for community safety for Gwynedd council who operate the CCTV system.

He said it was important to remember CCTV was only one weapon in the war against crime.

"There is a feeling amongst the public that the cameras should sort out all the problems in the town," said Mr James.

"But it will only do so in tandem with other measures - the most important one being that people report crimes to the police."

The council has begun an overview of the whole system before preparing a report on the way ahead.

The whole town would feel better if police officers were walking around Caernarfon

Businessman, Adrian Williams

Businessman Adrian Williams, from Richards Newsagents, also feels the situation is disgraceful.

"Someone smashed the shop window by head butting it at 2130 GMT on a Friday night," he said.

"The CCTV camera lies 20 yards away from the shop yet it didn't pick up the incident.

"The fact that you only see the police around in the van doesn't help.

"The whole town would feel better if police officers were walking around Caernarfon," he added.

Extra police

Community safety officer Alan Bevan from North Wales Police said an 40 extra officers were being trained.

"This will certainly help in terms of getting more officers on the beat," he said.

"The number of specialist departments within the police has increased dramatically in recent times and, as a result, this has meant fewer officers patrolling the street."

The concerns have prompted the setting up of the Gwynedd Community Safety Partnership made up of representatives from various bodies, such as the police, council and the business community.

The hope is to bring a co-ordinated approach to beating crime in the town.


More from north west Wales
See also:

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