Almost a decade after they were installed security cameras in Fraserburgh town centre could be in line for a major revamp.
The equipment was set up in the port’s Broad Street, Mid Street and harbour area in 2009 but the current CCTV system has been deemed “obsolete” and is constantly breaking down and failing.
The cameras also do not cover areas which have been classed as “important” by police to monitor.
It is hoped the overhaul can help tackle antisocial behaviour and improve community safety in the town centre.
New dome-style cameras would be installed at five new locations at Hanover Street, Charlotte Street, Deejays Night Club, the corner of Mid Street and Cross Street and the junction at Broad Street and Mid Street.
The Fraserburgh Community CCTV Working Group, who pays for and maintains the equipment, want to upgrade and expand the town centre’s security camera network so it is “fit for purpose”.
They have applied for a £60,000 grant from the council for the project and would raise the extra £10,000 through sponsorship.
Police are unable to fund CCTV installation costs, but they would continue to house, record and monitor the images.
Footage is not monitored live but used to retrospectively detect crime.
In his report to councillors, Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure chief Stephen Archer says the move would improve the current system and that police have had a say on the new CCTV locations.
He said: “The primary aim of the project is to upgrade the existing community CCTV system in Fraserburgh to become more fit for purpose and overcome the difficulties of the aging system that currently exists.
“The project seeks to use the latest internet protocol technology with three megapixel cameras providing sharper images in live and playback situations.
“The proposed camera locations have been selected in collaboration with Police Scotland and on the basis of police intelligence.”
Brian Topping, chairman of the Fraserburgh Community CCTV Working Group, said he is hopeful the replacement system can be installed ahead of the festive period.
Mr Topping said: “We’ve put a lot of work into this and have worked tirelessly to get them fixed.
“If this grant goes ahead the town will have a state of the art system that covers Fraserburgh’s pubs, clubs and town centre.
“It is a great tool for the police if something happens and I’m keen that the cameras are up and running before Christmas and the dark nights.
Last night, Fraserburgh businesses offered their support.
Brian Bruce, manager of Homestyle, said: “New CCTV would really help Fraserburgh and it is definitely a good thing.”
Alison Noble, coordinator of the Super Saturday events in Fraserburgh, said it could help boost the town centre.
She said: “Super Saturday, with the backing of Aberdeenshire Council and Fraserburgh Development Trust, is all about helping to regenerate the town centre by encouraging people to come into the Broch regularly.
“If by upgrading and extending the use of CCTV in the middle of the town it makes folk feel safer and encourages them to use the shops and attend events then it has to be welcomed.”
Broad Street-based newsagent Ian Dyga said: “I would welcome anything to improve the town centre.
“It makes the shops and customers feel safer and hopefully the police will be able to use the footage.”
Councillors on the Banff and Buchan area committee will discuss the CCTV funding bid when they meet in Banff on Tuesday.
Crime in numbers
In 2017, the council asked the police for data on crime in certain parts of Fraserburgh.
The information provided detailed incidents of violence, antisocial behaviour and shoplifting between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016.
There were 679 reported incidents of violent crime over the two year period, with almost 20% taking place in the town centre.
Detection rates were a healthy 83.6%.
Police also recorded 823 incidents of antisocial behaviour, including vandalism, threatening or abusive behaviour and breach of the peace, with an 11.2% increase in incidents between 2015 and 2016.
Around 20% of these incidents took place in key town centre streets including Broad Street, Shore Street, Cross Street, High Street, Saltoun Square and Mid Street.
In such cases the detection rate dropped to 64.3%.
Shops in the centre of Fraserburgh were also crime hotspots, with 400 incidents of shoplifting in 2016 – an increase of 25.7% on the previous year.
Two thirds took place in the Asda, Tesco and Co-Op supermarkets.
Police Scotland said that while data was not available to directly connect the detection and solving of crime to the presence of a CCTV system, its officers pointed to the high detection rates and anecdotal evidence that CCTV coverage acts as a deterrent, is a crucial aid in crime detection and forms an important part of the evidence base that leads to successful convictions.