New security cameras in Peterhead are already helping to crack crime and have been hailed for securing a recent conviction following a break-in.
A £79,000 close-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance system is now up and running providing round-the-clock coverage of the town centre straight to a new video wall in the local police station.
Rediscover Peterhead, the trust behind the project, believes the coverage is already helping police to solve crimes in the area and assisting the courts in prosecuting cases.
Leslie Forsyth, manager of the business improvement district programme, said: “We have had a couple of break-ins in the town centre a couple of months ago and the person who did it pled guilty because the images which caught him in the act were pin sharp.
“Peterhead is not a crime hotspot, despite some claims to the contrary, and this just means that for the businesses there’s a bit of reassurance.”
The £79,000 installation was jointly funded by Aberdeenshire Council through the Scottish Government’s town centre grant fund, and Rediscover Peterhead.
The town boasts around 215 businesses, some but not all of which are members of the business improvement district scheme – meaning they pay into a pot to help the group fund projects like this.
Rediscover Peterhead was formed following a ballot in 2018 and it wasted no time in including the security system in its business plan, after a petition calling for CCTV to be installed in the town generated more than 800 signatures.
Mr Leslie added: “The project has enjoyed a high level of support from town centre businesses and we are delighted to have been able to support Police Scotland with a fantastic CCTV system which is producing really good quality images which are displayed on a video wall in the police office at Buchan House.”
The installation has been hailed a “benefit for everyone” by Queen Street jewellery shop owner Robert Emslie, and as something for the town to be “very proud of” by Graham Portous, Aberdeen Technical Services’ managing director.
Offering 32 different angles from eight different cameras already, a ninth camera is yet to be installed at Drummers Corner.
Police believe it to be the best system in Aberdeenshire, with Inspector Mark Lambley, of Buchan community policing team, describing it as “leaps and bounds” ahead of similar technology in Aberdeen.
He said: “This is the only place in the county that has a system like this and if you compare it to Aberdeen city it’s leaps and bounds ahead.
“It will support the work we do with partners and third sector organisations to reduce the levels of antisocial behaviour, disorder and acquisitive crime the area experiences.
“We have already had notable success where we have used the system to detect break-ins to commercial premises as well as assisting us with incidents of concern, particularly in relation to high-risk missing people.
“The quality of the footage and the breadth of coverage is fantastic and we hope that as the footfall in the town centre increases post Covid 19, it will give the community confidence to visit the area and reduce their fear of crime.”