CCTV cameras approved for Hartlepool's Rossmere Park - despite privacy fears

Plans to install two CCTV cameras to help crackdown on antisocial behaviour have been given the go-ahead despite privacy concerns from residents.

Thursday, 5th September 2019, 1:10 pm
Rossmere Park

Proposals were submitted by Hartlepool Borough Council chiefs earlier this year to put the two CCTV columns, measuring eight metres and 10 metres, in the park.

It came as part of plans to install CCTV security cameras at all major parks across the town to help combat anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

However eight objections and a 27 signature petition raised concerns over the height of the cameras at Rossmere Park resulting in a loss of privacy, the sustainability of the cameras and a lack of monitoring of them.

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However the council planning committee approved the plans, with reassurances being given from council staff the cameras were to combat anti-social behaviour and would not invade people’s privacy.

Sylvia Pinkney, head of public protection at the council, said: “It has been identified as being appropriate for the prevention of crime and disorder.

“The park has been subject to anti-social behaviour most recently relating to the events area and the play site, the installation of public space CCTV will provide a level of protection to the site and improved community safety.

“The location and height of each camera has been selected to provide the best available coverage of the park whilst being able to obtain a wireless link.

“They are not there to be intrusive to the residents in the area, they are there to protect the park and would be used if an incident occurs.”

She also added all staff operating cameras would be fully trained, audited, and act within human rights, privacy and data protection laws.

The proposals state one of the cameras would be situated to the east of the pond in the park, while the second will be in the western section on the events playing field.

Coun Tony Richardson, who represents the area on the council, spoke on behalf of those objecting to the proposals, stating the cameras should be a different height and in a different location.

He said: “We are not objecting to the cameras, we are objecting to the height, it is the height that is looking into people’s gardens.

“There is no reason why the camera can’t go on to Rossmere Way, and they would still pick up the same as the camera on the end of Rossmere Park without looking into people’s gardens.

“I think this definitely needs looking at, there is no reason why that camera, the 10 metre one, can’t go in Rossmere Way.”

Council officers said if they installed the camera on the road suggested they would not get the full view of what they wanted to protect and stated the cameras are of a standard height used in the town.

The proposed CCTV columns will also be painted black and include an anti-climb attachment.