HIGH-DEFINITION CCTV could be switched on and working in Newtown within a year, if not far sooner than that.
Dyfed-Powys Police (DPP) Commissioner Dafydd Llewelyn visited Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Town Council to discuss crime and disorder issues.
This follows a spate of attacks and incidents in the town during October.
As a response to calls that the CCTV be switched back on in Newtown it was announced the £2million has been set aside for the next four years. for 14 areas across the Force including Newtown.
Once working the high definition cameras would monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week at by Police officers at their headquarters in Carmarthen.
But there are still details to iron out before they can be used.
The internet infrastructure needs to be upgraded to be suitable.
This is because the camera feeds take up a lot of internet bandwiidth and the force are currently in the procurement tendering period.
This meant that Mr Llewelyn could not be more specific on a start date.
Mr Llewelyn said: “I wish I had a magic wand and that we could do this in days.
“I’m confident that within 12 months, hopefully a lot sooner than that the CCTV will be up and working in Newtown.
“Newtown is within the first phase of the project and along with Builth Wells will be at the forefront.”
Cllr John Barker, still has concerns, he asked: “What else need to be done here in Newtown by DPP?
“CCTV is good at identifying people but is it a deterrent?”
Mr Llewelyn, who spent part of his childhood growing up in Meifod, replied: “There’s not a great amount of studies to quantify CCTV, but one by British Transport Police said it’s useful two-thirds of the time.
”This is not a huge evidence base but it has been critical in investigations
““I’m sold on the notion that it will have a positive impact.”
When asked if it would disperse problems to othere areas Mr Llewelyn replied that it was about dealing with one problem at a time.
“If you start by making town centres a safe placs, then we’ll be able to deall with the displacement,” said Mr Llewelyn.
Mr Llewelyn went on to say that while the Police nationally through Wales and England were suffering from a loss of 20,000 officers in recent years, Dyfed Powys Police were near their capacity of 1,180 officers. a level it had not been at since 2010.
Seeing Police as a visible presence in town was brought up by Cllr Joy Jones: “We have to wait for CCTV and I’m grateful; it’s on it’s way.
“It’s important that we see more officers on the streets not just in cars.”
Mr Llewellyn, a former criminology lecturer, replied: “I want to see officers as well as you do.
”We need the rsources tpo be able to respond to incidents in all areas, officer strength is at the highest it’s been for a number of years.”
He explained that there is a difference in the way policing has evolved in recent years with more emphasis and resources prioritised on child sexual exploitation cases, cyber crime and historic sexual abuse investigations.
All taking officers away from walking the beat.
”I want the public to feel a positive difference whilst I’m commissioner,” said Mr Llywelyn.
Before meeting Newtown Councillors, Mr Llewellyn met with Duncan Foulkes.
After his son, Danny was attacked and hospitalised in October, Mr Foulkes started a petition.
So far he has received 2,933 signatures calling for CCTV and better policing in Newtown.
Mr Foulkes, said: “We held a constructive meeting with Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn.
“He reconfirmed that Newtown will be included in the first phase of towns to receive a new CCTV system.
“We think that good progress is being made but want the CCTV system in place within six months if at all possible.
“The pressure will continue until we achieve our goal.”
See full story in the County Times