CCTV cameras coming to St Albans park after gang attack

CCTV is to be installed in Verulamium Park after several gang attacks have taken place there.

CCTV is to be installed in Verulamium Park after several gang attacks have taken place there. - Credit: SADC

CCTV cameras are finally set to be installed in Verulamium Park as part of a project planned four months before a recent gang attack.

St Albans district council is installing the cameras at three locations to ensure it remains a safe environment for residents and visitors.

The mother of a boy recently attacked in the park has reacted to the council's announcement, which was planned ahead of the assault on her 15-year-old son.

The boy was allegedly punched and kicked by a large group in the park after school on Monday June 14. He had been with his friends at around 4.30pm when he was set upon by a group of around eight to 12 older boys, suffering cuts and bruises.

His mother told the Herts Ad: "I’m very encouraged by the response from our local council and the police, resulting in daily police patrols continuing over the summer and the addition of some much needed CCTV.

"It brings some reassurance to parents that their children can live their lives a little more safely in the park, and hopefully acts as a deterrent to those looking to take advantage. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who filled in the Echo form, which has contributed to bringing about these improvements."

The CCTV cameras will be operational 24/7 and monitored from the council’s central control room where other parts of the city are covered.

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If an operator spots any anti-social behaviour or suspicious activity, they will alert the police so that they can respond immediately.

Use of the park has soared during the pandemic, with an increase in litter and a small number of other incidents.

Cllr Jacqui Taylor said: “There has been some recent concern about anti-social behaviour and criminal activity in Verulamium Park.

“We are determined to work in partnership with the police to tackle that and the CCTV cameras will be a significant addition to those efforts.

“Our community protection team has considerable experience in overseeing the operation of CCTV systems and the expansion of our coverage into Verulamium Park will further help us maintain St Albans as a safe place.”

St Albans Ch Insp Mike Todd said: “Reducing anti-social behaviour through high visibility patrols of our green spaces is one of our current local priorities set through our priority-setting forums in partnership with our community.

“As lockdown eases, green spaces have seen increased usage. Recently there have been a number of reports of antisocial behaviour and criminal activity in the park.

“In response, additional officers are tasked with high visibility patrols. In partnership with SADC, these patrols are further supported by rangers.

“I very much welcome the addition of CCTV cameras, alongside our regular proactive police and  partner patrols, to further help us take a firm stance against anyone who commits crime or anti-social behaviour. My officers are working hard to make sure the park remains an enjoyable space for residents and visitors to enjoy in peace.”