Police closing pubs for ‘inadequate CCTV coverage’

From the Lancashire Evening Post we learn that police in Preston have been closing down popular pubs and clubs on account of them having 'inadequate security camera coverage'. As the report says:

PC Julie Stewart from the licensing department at Preston Police was due to visit the pub (The Skeffington Arms in Ribbleton Lane) yesterday and said she would re-open it if CCTV was working.

She said: "It's for public safety and their own safety to detect crime. The pub had minimal CCTV – it wasn't recording. If an incident had happened and we needed to get evidence and locate an offender, we couldn't have from there. Even the staff aren't safe in those conditions."

Pub cctv While CCTV coverage is frequently very helpful to the police in cases of criminal and anti-social behaviour, this is surely taking the perceived benefits one step too far?

CCTV is very rarely a useful deterrent and has been shown on countless occasions to be equally poor when it comes to solving crimes.

Indeed earlier this year, John Bromley-Davenport, a criminal QC from Manchester, pointed to the case of Wayne Redfern, whose death at the hands of a gang outside a pub in Kirkham, Lancashire three years ago was caught on CCTV camera.

He said: “Although much of the action was captured on film, the quality was not sufficiently good for the purpose of identification and the presence of the cameras was no deterrent to those involved.

The men were eventually jailed after they were arrested, based on evidence supplied by eye-witnesses – not the CCTV cameras."

To be actively closing down pubs when the British pub is under such threat - closing at the alarming rate of 50 per week – and on such shaky grounds is not only very tough on the landlords and their staff, it is bad science and a bad way of conducting public safety.

After all, if the police in Lancashire believe so strongly in the benefits of CCTV, should it not be their responsibility to install the cameras and thereby have to justify the outlay in the council budget?

By Dylan Sharpe