Crime-hit Abbeyview community calls for CCTV to be brought back

Councillors seeking the reinstatement of CCTV in a beleaguered Fife community have been given assurances that their request will be considered.

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 3:13 pm
Residents want CCTV to be reinstated.

Dunfermline South councillors James Calder and David J Ross tabled a motion at this week’s Dunfermline area committee asking officers from Fife Council’s safer communities team to consider bringing back cameras in Abbeyview.

However, their bid to give direct assurance to residents of the Dunfermline estate was headed off by administration councillors Garry Haldane and Fay Sinclair, who said Abbeyview’s situation could not be singled out for special treatment amidst a Fife-wide review of CCTV equipment.

Abbeyview’s surveillance cameras were switched off several years ago after community wardens were relocated away from local offices.

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The area has been hit by fireraising and vandalism

Police Scotland has stepped up patrols in the area over the last year following a rise in anti-social behaviour including vandalism and fireraising on local streets and in Abbeyview Park.

Cllrs Calder and Ross say they have been contacted numerous times by members of the community – including children – about the problem, and they believe the return of CCTV could help nip it in the bud.

Lib Dem Calder told the meeting on Tuesday [August 24]: “This has been a long-running issue in Abbeyview and while officers have been very helpful it’s a particularly local issue which is why I’ve brought it up here.

“Quite frankly, despite my best efforts, we’ve not been able to identify funding to reactive these cameras and I think there is an element of frustration in the local community about it. I’ve even had kids write to me about it.”

The Liberal Democrat added that he had been made aware of a number of alleged crimes he believed could have been prevented or at least tackled more effectively if CCTV had been in place.

He concluded: “What’s even more useful [than detection of crime] is deterrence. If people know the cameras are working they will think twice about acting this way. Councillors need full details so we can look at it with an evidence-based approach and the costs and options of reintroducing them.”

Conservative councillor Ross added: “Abbeyview is a thriving community and people are concerned.

“Everybody knows the CCTV doesn’t work – therefore there is no deterrent there.”

Fife Council and Police Scotland are currently conducting a review of the 102 publicly operated surveillance cameras installed across the Kingdom.

Making an amendment to Cllr Calder and Ross’ motion, Labour Dunfermline central member Garry Haldane pointed out that the Abbeyview cameras would be considered as part of that reappraisal.

As a nod to their request for updates, he asked that updates on the scheme are delivered to the committee so councillors can keep the community informed.

“All issues within communities in Dunfermline will be picked up as part of this programme of work,” Cllr Haldane said.

“We can all understand the motion’s aims etc and within all communities we’re all concerned about violence and destructive incidents.

“There is a bigger picture here that Fife Council and Police Scotland have picked up on regarding CCTV.”

SNP councillor Fay Sinclair, seconding Cllr Haldane’s amendment, added: “I totally understand where Cllr Calder is coming from.

“But this [Cllr Haldane’s amendment] meets the aims of what Cllr Calder was putting forward and I thank him for bringing this forward.

“I would support the amendment because I think it will drive things forward a bit quicker and recognises it’s not just down to the council and it’s not just for this particular area.”

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Calder said the administration-led amendment detracted from the local issues in Abbeyview.

He has vowed to continue fighting the community’s corner if the updates that come back to committee are not to his satisfaction.

“There’s a lot of criminal behaviour taking place in Abbeyview and a lot of residents are fed up,” he said.

“They’re not happy that the CCTV was deactivated as people committing these alleged offences think they can get away with it.

“A lot of money was spent putting the system in in the first place and there must be creative solutions found.

“Rest assured, if I’m not satisfied I will be continuing to push. If the CCTV is not put back in place [following the review] that is completely unacceptable and I do not want to see the administration kick this into the long grass.”