A comprehensive CCTV system and free wi-fi network for Diss town centre could be further expanded to other parts of the town, as work on the original project nears completion.
Installation of several CCTV cameras proposed in a successful planning application submitted last year by Diss Town Council is well under way, with around half of the planned units currently up and ready to film.
At a Diss Town Council meeting last Wednesday, councillors committed to investing a minimum of £5,000 into the project, and indications were made that the scheme could expand by at least an additional two cameras, with Rectory Meadow, identified as a problem area, being one of the suggested locations.
The initial set of cameras, which overlook Chapel Street, Mere Street, Market Hill, Market Place, Park Road, St Nicholas Street and select car parks, are intended to record footage 24 hours a day and will be monitored by a team of community volunteers during key events and busy periods. This aspect of the scheme is estimated to be in place within the next couple of months.
Mike Pursehouse, Communities Safety Officer at South Norfolk Council, said: “CCTV is a lot more than just pointing a camera somewhere. We are trying to help market towns like Diss to be prosperous.”
The new public wi-fi network is also in progress, with secure communication nodes and point-to-point wireless bridges being put in place at strategic locations in the town.
The need for CCTV in the aforementioned areas has been further exacerbated by recent incidents.
In early June, the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices shop on Chapel Street was set back more than £400 following an overnight burglary, and only a week later, a rotary club charity collector was injured after narrowly avoiding being robbed of her donations bucket on Mere Street.
Diss town councillor Oliver Pilsbury-Gaunt, whose Park Pavillion kiosk in Diss Park has been hit several times by vandalism, most recently in June, emphasised the benefits that these new measures would bring towards reducing crime and anti-social behaviour in these areas.
He said: “Over the past three years, I have suffered from the effects of crime and it has cost my business over £1,000.
“With the introduction of the cameras in the car park and at the junction of Mere Street and Chapel Street, the entrances and exits to the park will now be covered, making it easier to identify the criminals if they are not deterred by their presence in the first place.”