A LACK of police resources and its rural isolation has prompted villagers in Newcastleton to investigate installing CCTV.
Cameras have been on the community council’s agenda for some time and were originally considered after a spate of break-ins and thefts in 2018.
The existing CCTV on the fuel forecourt has helped the police on several occasions, capturing images of vehicles using the village as a throughway for fly-tipping and suspicious vehicles.
Many people report feeling insecure at night and want a more visible police presence.
The council has continued to request police support when this is warranted but increasing pressures and diminishing police resources, coupled with the rurality, mean the village is at the end of the line when seeking help.
This became very apparent during lockdown when the community suffered unwanted ‘visitors’ on many occasions and they were left to deal with issues themselves.
Much of the petty crime goes unreported which does little to support the case for police support.
Initially, the plan was to site cameras at the village’s entrances and exits and this continues to be the main ambition.
A council spokesperson said: “Our plans have become more developed and technology more sophisticated so we are able to do more.
“Cameras work by line of sight so it is relatively easy to add to the system once the ‘network’ is established.
“As well as the in/out routes we are considering a request by the primary school to add cameras to support deterrent efforts to stop petty crime.
“Critically, we plan to add ‘eyes’ for Scottish Borders Council’s emergency bunker and Newcastleton Resilience Group to monitor water levels on the Liddel as part of a better early warning system for flood measures.
The master eye at Whithaugh pool will ‘see’ as far north as possible where another will be added upstream.
“The layout reflects current thinking but what we can achieve will depend on funding raised through grants, donations and community support.
“After community feedback, a planning application will begin, final budgets confirmed and a funding drive started. Donations to support this effort are very much welcomed.”
The council hopes to have the cameras by next spring but says the more people who make their views known the stronger the plan will be and the best solution found to solve any issues raised.
Only nominated members of the community council, school and police will be able to see footage within the village.
The cameras are infrared and can see in the dark. Only external images will be captured.
Any property with windows in the sight lines will be blacked so no one can see anything inside.
Residents are being asked to comment by tomorrow.