As the petition to instal CCTV cameras in Alexandra Park continues to gather support neither Hastings Borough Council (HBC) nor Sussex Police will confirm that they fully back the proposal.
When we asked both organisations what their positions were on the provision of CCTV in the park and who would meet the cost of the ongoing monitoring – neither gave particularly clear answers with HBC in particular demonstrating a particularly nifty side-stepping of the questions they had been asked, instead deflecting its response to national issues rather than what is happening here in Hastings.
In 2020 as part of cost saving measures HBC pulled the plug on its funding for CCTV monitoring so last week we asked the council:
- Would HBC be responsible for monitoring of CCTV in Alexandra Park?
- What hours coverage would HBC provide?
- Does HBC have any other solutions to issues of safety in the park which is an HBC resource?
In response a council spokesman told us: “We are aware of the concerns raised, especially in the light of recent events.
“We take our community safety responsibilities very seriously and are arranging to meet with the petitioners leading the campaign as soon as possible.
“We are also in conversation with our police partners and leading women’s organisations both nationally and locally, to identify what we can do to help change the fact that almost every young woman in this country has experienced sexual harassment of some form.”
Councillor Kim Forward, leader of the council, added: “The outpouring of stories shared by women about their experiences of harassment, abuse and violence should give all of us pause to reflect on our behaviours and what we choose to ignore or let go unchallenged.
“The issues around violence against women and girls are deep rooted and will take all of society working together to change mindsets and behaviours.”
While a spokesman for Sussex Police said: “We are aware of the petition in relation to CCTV being implemented in Alexandra Park. CCTV in public places, such as parks, is a joint venture with local partner agencies, including HBC, and is a multi-agency decision.”
A source close to the council told Hastings In Focus last week they thought it unlikely that money could be found for CCTV in Alexandra Park even if there was a political will to provide it: “The costs would be huge, it’s not just the installation but the on-going maintenance, repair and monitoring that make it unlikely this would happen,” we were told.
Do you think the council should fund installation and monitoring of CCTV in Alexandra Park? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.