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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Council considers expansion of CCTV system in Mid and East Antrim

A contractor is to evaluate the potential number of cameras required for installation and connection in each area, a report to the council’s Direct Services Committee has stated.

The PSNI has told elected representatives previously that CCTV provision in Carrickfergus is “relatively poor” compared to other council areas such as Lisburn and Castlereagh.

Former Larne Lough Alliance Councillor Danny Donnelly and Chair of Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) now an East Antrim MLA, had inquired about the possibility of a CCTV coverage being fed into a monitoring system in Ballymena.

Knockagh Ulster Unionist Councillor Andrew Wilson who chairs the Anti-social Behaviour PCSP Working Group, said:

“Following the recent installation of CCTV at the cenotaph in Carrickfergus and increased PSNI foot patrols in the town, following reports of vandalism in the Marine Gardens, I believe that we should be pressing forward to replicate the already installed CCTV in Ballymena town centre in both Carrickfergus and Larne towns.

“This would provide an extra layer of monitoring at key times and further support intervention work by the Education Authority, Bytes, YMCA and the PSNI amongst others across East Antrim.”

The council has installed a new CCTV system at the war memorial in Carrickfergus after it was the focus for vigilance following a series of vandalism attacks last year.

Graffiti, including a swastika, was reported on the monument and attacks had been “continuing on a weekly basis”. No perpetrators have been identified.

The Direct Services Committee was told that the scale of anti-social behaviour at Marine Gardens has been “greatly reduced” following CCTV and the deloyment of security patrols and there has been a “significant drop in the number of youths present and carrying out anti-socail behaviour”.

However, the committee heard that the PSNI Neighbourhood team continues to target the Love Lane area of the town at weekends with youth workers from the YMCA.

Earlier this month, a visitor attraction at Carrick’s High Street was vandalised.

Damage to the replica stocks, a wooden structure, was reported to the local authority on May 3.

In Larne, the PSNI has secured funding to provide twilight soccer with Larne Football Club during July and August with the aim of reducing anti-social behaviour in the town and “low level offending”.

In addition, the PSNI continues to be involved in a mountain biking/outdoor pursuits project with the Factory Forum in the town.

According to PSNI statistics, anti-social behaviour incidents have decreased in Mid and East Antrim from 5,308 recorded from April 2020 until March 2021 to 3,945, from April 2021 until March 2022.

The PCSP has been told that anti-social behaviour includes excessive noise, graffiti, litter, fireworks, scramblers and quads.

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