Town’s CCTV only works “intermittently”

Lord Bach during the police meeting at the Cube with businesses who have been affected by the recent crime spree in Market Harborough.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Lord Bach during the police meeting at the Cube with businesses who have been affected by the recent crime spree in Market Harborough. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Market Harborough’s CCTV system only works “intermittently”, a crime prevention meeting was told this week.

The revelation came in a meeting between Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Bach and businesses affected by the recent crime wave in the town.

Councillor Rosita Page, a member of the ruling Conservative group on the district council, was asked about the effectiveness of the town’s CCTV system.

She said the system had only been working intermittently and “there have been some hiccups”.

She added Harborough District Council was looking at updating the system.

A council spokesman would only tell The Mail: “Due to the sensitive nature of the CCTV service, we cannot comment on specific details relating to the CCTV system.”

Lord Bach said he was pleased the town’s crime spike seemed to have been halted by a wave of police arrests.

There were 21 break-ins at commercial premises in Market Harborough in five weeks.

But Lord Bach admitted: “The brutal truth is there are too few police officers, not just in Market Harborough but in the whole of Leicestershire.”

He said he would be looking to raise extra money via council tax to boost the police force.

Local shops represented at the meeting, most of whom had experienced burglaries or shoplifting, included B and M Bargains, Croft Wingates, Mistry’s, Poundstretcher and Studio 51.

Businesses were angry at the number of town burglaries and the apparent police shortage in the town.

One businesswoman described how her son had been offered cheap perfume from a town burglary in a supermarket car park in town.

Shanti Mistry of Mistry’s chemists said his shop had been burgled twice in a matter of days, after years without a break-in. He added: “And whilst I was talking to the police about my burglary, Boots was being burgled!”

Sharon McCall of hairdressers Studio 51 said: “I was told my burglary was ‘petty crime’. We lost £3,000 - that’s not petty to me.”

“That’s not acceptable,” admitted Inspector Gavin Drummond, Commander of an east Leicestershire patch which includes the town.”

Businesses were angry too at the “short sentences” handed out to criminals.

“The police have done everything they can - how can we put pressure on the courts?” asked Georgina Roberston from Poundstretcher.

The meeting decided that police should visit town businesses and help to extend the anti-crime HART network.

The ntwork, organised by B and M store manager Jaime Reed, allows stores to talk to each other about ongoing crime problems.

Lord Bach said more should be done to help crime victims and the Crown Prosecution Service should consider reading out “victim impact” statements in burglary cases.

“We haven’t done enough for our crime victims for a long, long time” he told the meeting.

But he added: “We have great police officers who do a fantastic job, but don’t have the resources.”

The meeting was organised by local Liberal Democrat councillor Phil Knowles.