Council advised to improve CCTV at Carrickfergus War Memorial after vandalism

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has been told to improve CCTV at Carrickfergus War Memorial following a spate of vandalism attacks.

The advice follows a meeting between councillors and the PSNI last month.

Police have also stated that better lighting is needed at the Joymount site and have said that foot patrols will be stepped up in the area.

Councillors were also told that CCTV provision in Carrickfergus is “relatively poor” compared to other council areas such as Lisburn and Castlereagh.

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    Carrickfergus War Memorial.

    It has been agreed that Policing and Community Safety Partnership officers are to approach the Policing Board and Department of Justice to determine funding potential for new CCTV in Carrick.

    A report to the council’s Direct Services Committee last week indicated that mobile CCTV has been deployed to the war memorial and that Community Safety Wardens and YMCA Detached Youth Workers have been requested to “focus on the area”.

    The report also indicated that the council’s parks department has been exploring the feasibility of a “high frequency sound system” as a deterrent.

    In October, it emerged that a private security firm was to patrol vandalism-hit Carrickfergus War Memorial months after it was brought in by the council to secure neighbouring parks.

    In July, graffiti, including a swastika, was reported on the monument.  No perpetrators have been identified.

    PSNI figures show that anti-social behaviour in Mid and East Antrim increased by 20% during lockdown.

    Earlier this month, a fire in the playground at Marine Gardens in Scotch Quarter in Carrickfergus caused “substantial damage” to equipment.

    Knockagh DUP Councillor Marc Collins, a member of the Direct Services Committee, asked for an update on CCTV funding.

    He described the vandalism around the cenotaph and Marine Gardens play park as “constant” and he stressed the need for an alternative if no funding is available.

    He was told by a council officer that CCTV has been in place for “six to eight weeks” with four cameras in the Marine Gardens area and the material is being reviewed.

    Party colleague Councillor Cheryl Brownlee, a Carrickfergus representative, commented: “It is a perfect place for anti-social behaviour. There is no lighting in the area whatsoever. It makes it the perfect place for children to congregate. CCTV is the way to go.”

    Earlier last week, the Roads Service reported that 30 new street lights are scheduled to be installed at Scotch Quarter/Joymount.

    Larne Lough Alliance Councillor Danny Donnelly, chair of Mid and East Policing and Community Safety Partnership, asked if CCTV coverage from Larne and Carrickfergus could be fed into a control room in Ballymena.

    Knockagh Ulster Unionist Councillor Andrew Wilson welcomed the expansion of CCTV as a crime prevention measure and backed an officer’s recommendation to write to the Department of Justice.

    Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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