Posts Tagged ‘Safer Bristol Partnership’

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Shopkeepers “Duped” Over Broken CCTV Cameras

August 19, 2009

Shopkeepers on one of Bedminster’s main shopping streets say they have been “duped” by the city council, after paying for security cameras that are broken and can’t see crime that happens in their shops.

Several retailers on East St contributed £200 each in February to set up a network of 10 CCTV cameras in the area, which the council claimed would combat crime and anti-social behaviour.

But several of the cameras are currently broken, having been hit by lightning this spring, and there has been a long delay in fixing them as the council has decided to upgrade them. It cannot say when they will be fixed.

East St Cameras - Broken

East St Cameras - Broken

Additionally, many retailers have complained after asking for CCTV footage but being told the cameras do not point at their shops.

One says he feels “duped” and others have demanded the council returns their money, as they believe the cameras are not being used to fight crime, but to raise revenue by detecting traffic offences on the pedestrianised part of East St.

Cash Converters manager Bill Kelly said: “It’s always excuse after excuse. There has been a robbery in one shop, an attempted robbery at the bank, and we have suffered criminal damage.

“On each occasion, we’ve been told there is no CCTV to help us. We feel duped. We have paid for CCTV to make us feel safer and we don’t feel we have got that.”

Rachel Maddox from Peacock’s added: “Someone attacked one of our guards, but there was no CCTV footage to back that up so it never went to court. As far as I know, the CCTV cameras were working.

“It’s not keeping us safe by just monitoring the road. I think it’s disgusting.”

Fiona Lewis from Bakeaway had a similar experience. She said: “I definitely want my money back. We were robbed in December and went to the council for the CCTV but were told the cameras weren’t working.

I would not have paid £200 if I thought the cameras wren’t going to work, and I would not have paid £200 if I had known what I now believe they are going to use them for: to stop cars going down the road.”

Katherine Smith from Stead and Simpson agreed. She said: “The response has been that the cameras weren’t working or the cameras weren’t pointing in the right direction.

“I definitely want my money back because it seems like they’ve asked for money from small businesses for the cameras. But they have used them to make more money from fines and traffic offences.”

Jones The News asked to speak to a council officer or an elected councillor but was told no-one was available. Neither was anyone available from Safer Bristol Partnership, an umbrella organisation of the police and council.

In a statement, Safer Bristol Partnership said: “The system has worked well and has proved effective in improving  the safety for people using the East Street shopping centre.

“There have been dozens of successful outcomess [sic] as a result of CCTV surveillance. For example CCTV pictures led to the arrest of a man who attacked a shopkeeper with a samurai sword, a man was arrested for a cash point robbery and various car crimes, assaults and shoplifting offences have resulted in arrests.”

Audio: shopkeepers on East describe the problems they’ve had

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Drug Treatment Cash “Could Be Cut” After Computer Error

August 7, 2009

Bristol could get less money for drug treatment programmes because city bosses have been using an outdated computer system to collect information.

The software used by drug agencies in Bristol is incompatible with the government’s, meaning Bristol can no longer pass information to the national database.

Without that information, around 3,500 people treated in Bristol will not feature on this year’s national figures.

That could reduce the amount of money given to treat addicts in the city — a prospect described as “scandalous and outrageous” by one of the city’s top drugs workers.

Bosses at Safer Bristol Partnership, an umbrella organisation of the police and council, will also now have to scrap the system they have been using since 2004 and pay for a new one.

Maggie Telfer from the Bristol Drugs Project said: “It is difficult to express how angry and upset we and other people providing drug treatment in the city are at this IT failure, which is not of our making, beyond our control and does not reflect what’s happening in the city.

“We provide help to those affected by drug use day-in-day-out through services which promote health, reduce crime and help people with a drug problem re-build their lives.

“Data processing has let down our hard working providers, whose successes will not be included in the national data to be published this autumn.”

But Alison Comley from Safer Bristol Partnership told #SITE_NAME# she would pull out the stops to make sure data was entered onto a new system in time to ensure funding is not affected.

She said: “It is difficult to say whose fault this is. We have tried to ensure this communication system happens smoothly but for technical reasons it has not been possible to make this happen.”

But she said Bristol would not have to pay for a new bespoke computer system as various off-the-shelf programs are available, and it would simply mean transferring their existing £80,000 annual software budget to a new system.

And she added: “This is a data capture issue. It in no way reflects on the excellent drug treatment services available in the city. People who use those services will not be affected by this.”

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Stokes Croft street drinking needs “radical solution”

May 13, 2009

A community activist from Stokes Croft has attacked current police and council policy on street drinking as a “merry go round”.

Jamie Pike manages Hamilton House, one of the main buildings on Stokes Croft and the former Lloyds-Bowmaker building. He has called for an end to the current policy of moving alcoholics on, calling for a wider-reaching solution.

Avon and Somerset Police last week complained they were unable to move street drinkers on from the steps of Hamilton House because they were there with permission.

They said in a statement: “Concern has been expressed by people who live, work and commute through Stokes Croft regarding the street drinkers congregating on the steps of Hamilton House which is in a non drinking zone.

“Unfortunately the police have not been able to enforce the zone as this area is private land and they were there with permission.”

However, Jamie Pike has defended his policy, saying: “[The police] usually confiscate their alcohol and ask them to move. They tend to just wander up the street and sit down somewhere else and carry on drinking. It just moves the problem somewhere else.

“That was one of the reasons we said unless you are going to give them a better solution or find a real way to tackle this problem, just leave them there.”

He wants to see a ‘wet house’ in the area, where drinkers are allowed to drink but also have access to health and detoxification services if they want them. Most hostels do not allow alcoholics to drink, forcing them out on to the streets.

He said: “There are ideas in the pipeline but it’s a very slow-moving and ineffective beast, Bristol City Council. I don’t hold outmuch hope. The merry-go-round will continue in Stokes Croft.”

Original contacted Safer Bristol Partnership, the umbrella organisation for the police and council, but they declined to comment.

Coexist is holding a meeting with Safer Bristol Partnership next week to discuss solutions.

The front of Hamilton House will be boarded up next week while renovation work on the building takes place.

Audio: Martin Jones talks to Jamie Pike from Coexist