A project to install state-of-the art CCTV to tackle burglary and theft in Midland Road has been welcomed by local councillors and police.
Over £430,000 has been granted by the Home Office’s Safer Streets project following a successful bid by Bedford Borough Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The Safer Streets project aims to help makes people’s homes safe in areas where crime is an issue.
In our Borough, the money is being invested in Midland Road and its surrounding streets. As an area close to the town centre and a busy through-route, it is an area that experiences higher levels of crime.
“The Safer Streets project offers a real opportunity to work with the community around Midland Road, and invest with them in making their neighbourhood a safe place to be,” said Cllr Colleen Atkins, portfolio holder for community safety.
“We regularly work with organisations and businesses around Midland Road and I know how deeply people in this area care about their community.”
The funding will see a major upgrade to the CCTV system in Midland Road area, with new Smart Cameras being installed.
These cameras have the ability to analyse shapes and movement in public spaces and recognise suspicious behaviour that can initiate criminal activity, such as large groups congregating, or people loitering.
The CCTV control room receives an alert from the cameras and the operator will decide what action to take, if required.
Bedford Borough Council’s CCTV practices are in line with the Surveillance Commissioners Code of Practice, protecting the rights and privacy of residents while maintaining their safety. The cameras do not use facial recognition and are designed to protect privacy in the home.
In addition, every home in the area will be visited by Safer Streets representatives from the Council, Bedfordshire Police and other local organisations. These visits will be done in a COVID-19 secure way, with social distancing and appropriate face coverings and gloves worn.
They will speak to residents about personal safety and offer to assess home security, including upgrades to locks. Residents will be offered an upgrade to their window and door locks. SmartWater, a safe and invisible forensic marking system, will also be offered to residents in the area to help reduce burglary.
There are also plans to create a Community Hub space in the area, where agencies can be based to work with the community offering support where needed.
Sergeant Maddie Doggrell from the Bedford Community Policing team said, “This is a fantastic project to be involved in and I’m very excited to work alongside our partners to really make a difference to the community.
“Burglary and theft are crimes that can be very distressing for the victims and leave a sense of vulnerability in what should be a safe place for them.
“I want our community to know that we take all reports of crime very seriously and if you have experienced any issues or have any concerns please continue to report them to us through the online reporting tool.”
Green Party ward councillors also welcomed the project.
Cllr Lucy Bywater said, “Everyone deserves to feel safe in their neighbourhood and in their home, and we believe this is a very positive initiative for local residents which brings the potential for long-term improvements for the Midland Road area.”
“We hope as may residents as possible will take part in what’s offered and reap the benefits,” said Cllr Ben Foley.
The project will run until March 2021. Residents with any questions about the Safer Streets project can email the Community Safety team at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.bedford.gov.uk/saferstreets.