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Fareham at the double

Fareham Borough Council enforcement officers this month have begun work as ‘double up as Covid Marshals’ besides their pre-pandemic work against anti-social behaviour, and such environmental offences as fly-tipping, litter and abandoned cars. The Hampshire council had six Enforcement Officers and two town centre security officers to help keep social distancing among townspeople.

Meanwhile, the borough has had a 12-month trial of two uniformed security officers patrolling the town centre; as mentioned in the January 2020 print edition of Professional Security magazine, the contract was with the Andover-based CSAS-accredited company Venture Security. A report to the council described the contract as a success; ‘As lockdown eased, the security officers have also helped to ensure that social distancing measures are being maintained. Feedback from residents has been very positive and complimentary.’

Three employees from the council’s Environmental Health Commercial Team, who would normally make food and hygiene inspections, will be working on covid-compliance. Whereas the enforcement officer-marshals will wear armbands (pictured) and will advise – they do not have any enforcement powers – the Environmental Health department does have enforcement powers and can issue business closure notices.

Meanwhile on community safety, the council plans 13 CCTV cameras in Fareham town centre to replace legacy equipment. Some 30 CCTV cameras that have rarely been used or of use in recent years are to be removed. A live monitoring of the cameras agreement with neighbouring Gosport Borough Council will also end; Gosport has to be given 12 months’ notice. The taken-down cameras will be replaced with mobile CCTV for deploying to anti-social behaviour hot spots; the council speaks of drug taking in public, linked to rough sleeping. Instead of live monitoring Fareham will have cloud-based ‘accessible but securely stored recorded footage’.

Out-of-hours call monitoring, BT line rental and camera maintenance contracts are also due to expire in autumn 2021. Procurement of a new provider of out-of-hours call monitoring would begin in early 2021, a report told councillors. In sum, the changes mean ‘visible face-to-face engagement and enforcement taking place across the borough, whilst ensuring that CCTV provision is targeted in the most effective locations’, according to the report. It noted that nearby Havant Borough Council stopped public space CCTV altogether, ‘with no discernible impact on crime levels’. The report stressed that Fareham is ‘a safe place to live, with low levels of crime when compared to other local authority areas’; and that the changes – fewer but more targeted cameras, and more uniformed patrols – would be more effective, and better answer resident concerns about anti-social behaviour in public.

Executive Member for Health and Public Protection, Councillor Trevor Cartwright, said: “We know that dealing with anti-social behaviour is a priority for residents and traders in the town centre because they have told us so. This package of measures will deal with those issues.

“We will invest in modern and more effective camera provision in those key locations where CCTV is most needed, a team of eight Enforcement Officers to provide visible and physical reassurance and deterrence throughout the borough, and deployable cameras that can be used to deal with hot-spots of anti-social behaviour as and when they occur.”

“Fareham is a very safe and peaceful place where people can happily shop and spend their leisure time, and the new measures that we are introducing will continue to provide that reassurance to visitors, traders and residents.”

Like many councils, Fareham’s local government CCTV system dated from the 1990s; the report to councillors noted that the original cameras were ‘obsolete with poor picture quality’ and it was hard to find spare parts for report.

Photo courtesy of Fareham Council. For a background community safety and CCTV report visit the Fareham borough website.


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