East Londonderry MLA, Maurice Bradley’s comments come after weeks of destruction by young people running amok in Coleraine’s town centre. There has also been a spate of break ins at commercial premises.
The DUP politician has been working closely with local police in a bid to resolve these issues, which he claims is leaving some residents like prisoners in their own homes.
He said: “I think it is time for Causeway Coast and Glens Council, Safer Coleraine and the PCSP to take a serious look at the CCTV provision in the town centre.
“It is inadequate, and at the moment and it is not manned at crucial times.
“Surely, with the advance in modern technology, making use of wi-fi is more cost effective and would mean a better use of resources with officers potentially being able to view live footage on their mobile devices.
“Replacing the current system with wi-fi enabled CCTV is the way forward and needs to be looked at as a matter of urgency, “said the MLA.
“I would also ask the PCSP, Council and Safer Coleraine if they even have a contract / Service Level Agreement in place at the minute with the current provider?”
MLA Bradley went on: “My office staff and colleagues have been working closely with the PSNI over the past two months on the issue of anti-social behaviour in Coleraine.
“We have had a positive response from the officers on the beat and also from Chief Inspector Ian Magee.
“However, there is limited resources and sadly the work on the ground is not being replicated by those who hold the purse strings in the higher echelons of the PSNI. They have been reluctant to finance the response needed to fully combat the problem, a response that I understand has been asked for by local officers.
“This lack of police response has a knock on effect, because victims are not reporting crimes as they feel it is not worthwhile, this means that incidents in the town centre are not a priority for officers when they are looking at statistics.
“The PSNI’s 101 call line is a fiasco.
“People making a complaint tell me that they feel like the criminals as they have to answer so many questions. Calls are answered by people who have no local knowledge, it can take some time to explain where a complaint is coming from or what it is about.
“I have been told that complainants have been on the phone for more than 30 minutes to report a crime – how is this an effective system? It is my view that this only puts people off making a call to report a crime.
“Despite assurances from Chief Constable Hamilton that he is adequately resourced, I must point out that Coleraine Police Station is closed from Friday tea-time to 10-00 a.m. on a Monday, there is also limited opening hours during the week, making it even more difficult for people to report crimes and have issues dealt with.
“To conclude, I would like to a seek a full review of CCTV provision in Coleraine, and dedicated police resources to adequately fight crime.”