Residents call for CCTV and action to tackle 'escalating' anti-social behaviour in Keynsham park
Residents living near Keynsham Memorial Park have called on police and councils to urgently step up their efforts to catch people “terrorising” the area with anti-social behaviour – and install CCTV.
Police were called by people living around the park who reported a night of disturbances on November 5, including people riding motorbikes in the park and setting off fireworks there and in the Civic Centre car park.
In a letter to Keynsham Town Council, the residents said they were “astounded” to be told by officers that there was no CCTV in the park and that other cameras in the town were not working.
Bath and North East Somerset Council has confirmed that work to upgrade the town’s CCTV network is ongoing and is expected to be completed in the new year, including a new camera at the bandstand.
In their letter residents wrote: “Over the last weeks and months, it has been well documented through the local press that there have been many fires throughout the park.
“This problem is clearly escalating, so is it not time that we as council taxpayers should expect the council and the local constabulary to put more resources into catching these vandals who are terrorising the area of Keynsham and costing taxpayers repair bills – money that we would suggest could be better spent on prevention.”
They added: “Our greatest concern is that someone or property is going to be seriously hurt/damaged before too long, especially given that the vandals concerned know that there is no deterrent.”
Keynsham councillor Charles Gerrish said many of the town’s existing cameras had now been replaced and a number of new ones would soon be installed. He said: “The original CCTV network in Keysham worked on line of sight between the cameras and receiver. However, since it was introduced nearly a decade ago, obstacles such as new developments and tree growth have rendered the system inoperable.
“Work to upgrade the system is ongoing. Cameras in Temple Street, Ashton Way, the High Street, Bath Hill car park and the Fox & Hounds car park have all been replaced. Work to install new cameras at Keynsham Railway Station, Bristol Road and in the bandstand at Keynsham Park will be completed early in the new year.
“Planning permission has now been granted to fit wireless connectors to the cameras so that they can be monitored remotely by the council’s CCTV operators. Once installed the Wi-Fi infrastructure will enable the cameras to communicate back to the Civic Centre/One-Stop Shop. This will enable footage to be viewed across the network and recorded locally. It is anticipated the system will be fully operational by the end of January.”
This month, Keynsham Town Council is due to discuss whether to use money paid to the town by developers under the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) initiative to fund a camera in the upper Memorial Park area and one in the Queens Road area.