Shame to lose CCTV coverage

SIR, — I am writing to alert residents and traders in Downpatrick town centre to the consultation by Newry, Mourne and Down Council over the withdrawal of CCTV services in the town.

The current analog systems are dated, have poor resolution and are expensive. Newer digital and wifi-based services would provide a more effective, cheaper and better technical result.

However, the council is minded to discontinue services unless the consultation shows support for its coordination. 

CCTV was introduced in Downpatrick to deal with anti-social behaviour, especially at night or weekends and had a positive effect in this regard. It is monitored by a group controlled by Lisburn-based traders.

In Newry and Mourne CCTV was monitored by Gough Barracks in Armagh. There is a perception that ending this service is part of the demilitarisation of Newry and South Armagh.

In my opinion, it would be a shame if Downpatrick lost its CCTV based on the needs of Newry and the wish of the council to save money.

The system could be improved. I believe it needs a mobile element to cope with periodic issues like persistent fly-tipping or anti-social behaviour around areas like The Grove.

I would encourage everyone to make their opinions known. 

Yours etc,