No “pressing need” for cameras along St Albans pathway despite successful petition

PUBLISHED: 16:48 15 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:01 15 January 2019

Narrow path on Alban Way. Picture: Robin Hogg

Narrow path on Alban Way. Picture: Robin Hogg

Archant

Permanent CCTV will not be installed along a notorious crime ridden pathway in St Albans.

During a discussion about safety concerns along the Alban Way, St Albans district council (SADC) heard last week that putting up permanent cameras would breach a national code of practice.

This is because there was not enough criminal behaviour reported to substantiate a “pressing need”.

However, a petition calling for action has garnered more than 1,200 signatories. It said: “If there was CCTV down [the] Alban Way, the community would feel safer and these offenders will not continue to get away with these crimes.

“There have been numerous incidents where people have been experiencing violence, threats, theft and more whilst walking or cycling down [the] Alban Way.”

In one incident, a group of teens threw stones at a jogger and in another, partially filmed and attached to the petition, a man was pushed off his bike and assaulted.

On January 10 SADC’s community safety working group heard that although temporary cameras had been installed at a known troublespot, the junction with Hill End Lane, there was no authority for permanent use.

The equipment would also cost £505,000.

Lighting the pathway, at a cost of £500,000 plus continued maintenance, was also discussed.

The working group asked portfolio holder for business and the community, Cllr Salih Gaygusuz, to investigate the options further.

He will submit a report of his findings to the community, environment and sport scrutiny committee on March 7.

Councillors also asked Herts police to patrol the Alban Way as a priority.

Chair of both the working group and scrutiny committee, Cllr Anthony Rowlands, said: “The petition shows there is widespread concern that the Alban Way - one of our most treasured community assets - has become unsafe, particularly at night.

“There may not be a strong enough case for installing CCTV, but clearly we should investigate other effective measures, working with the local community to ensure pedestrians, cyclists, joggers and dog walkers can make use of the Alban Way without fear of being attacked or abused.”

The issue of the Alban Way will be discussed again by the working group on July 23. View the petition at www.change.org/p/we-need-cctv-cameras-along-alban-way-st-albans

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