Sheffield councillor secures centrally monitored CCTV trial for Woodhouse community ‘scared witless’ by gang activity

Written by Hannah Richardson

A Sheffield community terrorised by gang violence is to trial a new centrally monitored CCTV system after Labour councillors gained funding.

Cllr Mick Rooney has announced a 10-camera CCTV system is to be set up in Woodhouse in an effort to crack down on anti-social behaviour and crime. This comes after residents declared they had lost faith in the police and the local council following a shooting in Woodhouse earlier this month.

Cllr Rooney said: “We take the situation in Woodhouse very seriously with the anti-social behaviour that has been taking place and we’re trying to put a stop it, it’s that simple.

“We’ve been working on this plan for quite some time, and we’ve managed to put together something that will hopefully reassure people that we take them seriously.”

The trial, which will be paid for out of the Community Safety Fund, will see the 10 cameras placed at points within the community which offer maximum coverage, the feed will then be sent live to a monitoring room from which operators will notify the police of any suspicious activity. Street Wardens with the power to issue on the spot fines will also be introduced to the area.

Councillor Mick Rooney has gained funding to introduce a centrally monitored CCTV system in the Woodhouse area.

This…

Posted by Woodhouse Ward Labour Councillors on Friday, 19 March 2021

Cllr Rooney said, if the trial proves to be a success, they will then be looking at expanding the use of these systems across the city.

The proposal was greeted with a mixture of relief and scepticism within the Woodhouse community, which has seen a sharp rise in criminal activity.

Many in the community took to Facebook to welcome the announcement. One resident said: “Well done Mick, we are lucky to have such a proactive passionate councillor.”

However, Woodhouse resident Ben Deighton criticised the council for their slow response. He said: “Not to say it’s a bad thing getting the cameras; however the praise is misguided.

“Up to four weeks ago, local councillors, MPs and police were adamant that there was no problem with crime in our area. It has taken certain Facebook groups to prove this is not the case.

“The groups in question would not be fobbed off and kept on at councillors, MPs and police until something was done.”

Frustrated by the lack of action being taken to curb these crimes, Mr Deighton set up the Facebook group ‘S13 and S12 criminal activity evidence and patrol information’ in September, alongside Michelle Wong, after his car was broken into.

Mr Deighton said: “[Residents] have had enough now, it’s scaring everybody witless. Initially it was breaking into vehicles, now they’ve stepped it up. Now it’s gun crime.

“People are constantly looking over their shoulders and they feel it’s unsafe to go out your property.”

Cllr Rooney acknowledged the role of local community groups in bringing the severity of the problem to their attention.

He said: “They have been helpful in highlighting the issues and they have been a contributory factor, but there were others involved. We have responded to public concern. That’s what we do, it’s the duty of a public servant to respond to the issues that people raise with us.”

South Yorkshire Police declined to comment on the situation in Woodhouse.

Written by Hannah Richardson

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