Considering the bad press that CCTV often receives for being expensive, useless and often mismanaged, when the residents of Tredworth in Gloucestershire actively asked police to install cameras due to the vandalism of their cars in the high street, you would have expected them to check they worked first.
But this didn’t cross the minds of the Tredworth constabulary. They installed a camera months ago, but after five months locals were shocked to find no arrests had been made. They were even more surprised when it was revealed the camera had never worked. Apparently a blank screen for 150 days isn’t enough to catch the attention of the eagle-eyed CCTV monitors in Gloucestershire.
But it gets worse. After being alerted to their mistake, the camera was swiftly replaced with another, which also didn’t work. Unsurprisingly, the residents are not impressed. David Smith, 51, who has been the victim of vandalism numerous times, said:
“It is staggering incompetence. The police put up a camera and then they found it doesn't work. Then to put up a second camera and that also not work is just ridiculous. What is the point of CCTV cameras if they don't work?”
“We have had major problems with vandalism to cars ever since we moved here seven years ago. About 18 months ago it became more severe, some times it’s just two days between your car being vandalised. My car and my wife's and all our neighbours' car have been targeted. I had a quote for £400 to repair the damage but there is no point. As soon as you repair it you get more.”
This staggering incompetence beggars belief. No doubt both of these CCTV cameras were costly, taking taxpayers’ money which could have otherwise been spent on frontline policing.
County councillor for the area, Sonia Friend, summed it up rather succinctly:
“I know CCTV has a proven track record in this area, even if it is only temporary, it has really made an impact. So it can really do positive things if it works but if it is not working then it won’t solve the problem.”
With this level of incompetence in place on the council and police of the area, it’s unsurprising that Tredworth has such a high level of vandalism.