Call for CCTV in Edgware park rejected
A councillor’s plea to install CCTV in a park that was recently the site of a fatal stabbing has been turned down.
Sara Conway, a Labour councillor for Burnt Oak, called for temporary CCTV cameras to be installed in Montrose Park, Edgware, to help protect children and young people during the summer months.
She made the request at a meeting of Hendon Area Committee in June after a 22-year-old man was fatally stabbed in the park on 31st May. It came in response to demands from residents for CCTV and lighting to help rebuild community confidence.
But Conservative councillors refused to back the call, with the Tories subsequently claiming the proposals - which came with an estimated price tag of £25,000 - were less effective than park patrols and would have failed to catch people wearing hoods.
Following the meeting, Cllr Conway said it was “deeply disappointing” that the community’s voice was not being heard.
She added that it was “almost unbelievable” that the council could quickly deploy CCTV to protect a churchyard in Hendon after gravestones were vandalised - a move she fully supported - but could not do so to try to help protect Burnt Oak’s children and young people.
Cllr Conway said: “It is also almost unbelievable that this council spent millions of pounds on the parks but failed to put in basic safety infrastructure, including responsive CCTV in vulnerable areas.”
Responding to the comments, Jennifer Grocock, lead member for policing and community safety, claimed park patrols brought in by the council were a more effective deterrent than spending £25,000 on temporary CCTV cameras.
Cllr Grocock said: “Sadly, as a response to this tragic incident, Cllr Conway’s proposals are less than useful. In this instance, Cllr Conway’s proposed solution could be avoided by people wearing hoods.
“This administration has brought park patrols into several of Barnet's parks and open spaces, including Montrose and Silkstream, through a specialist partner called Parkguard to ensure that they are safe spaces for residents.
“These patrols are a far more effective deterrent than easy-to-avoid-and-vandalise cameras, and allow for the gathering of a wider set of evidence and intelligence.”
Cllr Conway claimed the patrols spend less than an hour in each park each day, but Cllr Grocock said they were “bespoke” and “flexible to react and respond through intelligence-led deployment”.
Labour and the Conservatives also clashed over the proposed timings of the CCTV. Cllr Conway said they would be deployed for four months, while Cllr Grocock suggested this was unrealistic, as her member’s item came to committee at the end of June.