A SPECIAL project in which five town councils joined forces to keep Anglesey’s crime-busting CCTV system rolling has snapped up a top award from a police boss.
Representatives of the local authorities in Holyhead, Llangefni, Amlwch, Menai Bridge and Beaumaris teamed up to take action last year when it became apparent that Anglesey County Council would have to withdraw funding from the crime-busting eye in the sky system following a spending review.
They formed the Trefi Môn CCTV Project Board with the aim of keeping the vital cameras in operation.
Their success in saving and upgrading the system, which includes a total of 122 cameras across the island, has landed the board the coveted Partnership Award in the second annual awards run by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick.
Mr Roddick launched the awards last year as a way to honour unsung crime fighting heroes across all North Wales communities in what was the first initiative of its kind in England and Wales.
The aim of the scheme is to officially recognise people who help police to keep their neighbourhood or town a peaceful and safe place to live and work and who help in rehabilitating offenders.
The Partnership Award, which is for organisations who have successfully worked in partnership with others to help community safety, was presented to the Trefi Môn board by Mr Roddick at the 2015 awards ceremony at the Kinmel Manor Hotel in Abergele.
Holyhead’s town clerk Cliff Everett, who is secretary of the CCTV project, said: “Trefi Mon is a voluntary, non-profit making group comprising of representatives from the five main towns on Anglesey.
“They initially came together in 2014 to collectively address the withdrawal of the local authority public spaces CCTV provision across the island by creating a forum to consider sustainable CCTV on Anglesey.
“In March 2014, the Isle of Anglesey County Council, as part of their financial spending review, reached a decision that funding for CCTV services would be withdrawn.
“Their rationale was that the current equipment required significant investment through replacement, the costs of which were not viable.
“This meant that each of the five main towns would lose the provision of public spaces CCTV.
“The potential consequences of this decision was likely to not only have an adverse impact on crime and disorder, but also public safety, confidence and economic growth for the island.
“In May 2014 representatives from the five town councils met to set up a project board to identify a sustainable future for CCTV across Anglesey.
“Over the next few months the project board worked tirelessly to identify potential funding streams and costings for a brand new system.
“With the assistance of the Citizens Advice Bureau a public survey was carried out to gauge opinion of the future of CCTV, together with a petition containing 4000-plus signatures in support of retaining CCTV.
“North Wales Police also provided the project board with analytical data to demonstrate the impact on crime and anti-social behaviour.
“Last November the Project Board successfully presented a detailed application to the Anglesey Charitable Trust which secured capital funding of £195,000 for the purchase and installation of a new digital CCTV system across each of the towns.
“As part of this application the five town councils agreed to match fund this amount to ensure a sustainable 10 year programme for the new system.
“With the project reaching a successful conclusion the five towns representatives identified the importance of continued collaborative working, to not only effectively manage the future for CCTV, but also to reduce the impact that further potential spending cuts for public services may have on the communities of Anglesey.”
Mr Everett added: “I’m delighted to say the system went live on October 13 with a complete set of state of the art cameras, which will be recording 24/7 in each of the towns.
“The police will review the recordings they make when looking for evidence of incidents.
“It’s fantastic news that we have won the PCC’s award and proves what can be achieved when a number of town councils work together.
“We have now suggested to other towns on Anglesey that if they are able to find the funding they could also be linked into the system.”
Superintendent Nigel Harrison and Inspector Guy Blackwell of North Wales Police said in their joint nomination of the project for the award: “Whilst it would have been easy for each of the five town councils to work separately to address the removal of CCTV they have demonstrated a strong united approach in protecting the people of Anglesey for years to come.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick, who in his time has served as a police officer, a barrister and a judge, said: “One thing all our winners have in common is that they make North Wales a better and safer place to live and work.
“There are a great number of people who do a lot of good in the community by helping North Wales Police and these silent workers go way beyond anybody else to make a contribution and ensure their communities are safe.
“In the overwhelming number of cases, this a personal commitment made without expectation of any kind of reward or recognition.
“I created the awards so that these unsung heroes and heroines of communities across North Wales could receive the recognition they deserve and to encourage others to emulate their good example.”